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Southeast Madagascar continues to feel effects of periods of dryness and flooding in early 2017

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Madagascar
  • April 2017
Southeast Madagascar continues to feel effects of periods of dryness and flooding in early 2017

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Most Likely Food Security Outcomes
  • Key Messages
    • Extreme dryness from December 2016 to February 2017 affected the clove and coffee producing region of the eastern coast from Fenerive-est to Manakara (less than 30 percent of average rainfall). Rice producing regions of central western Madagascar received 30-40 percent of average rainfall. This will affect small farmer incomes from crop sales, in addition to labor incomes, and may also affect trade flows and price levels throughout the country. 

    • Southeastern Madagascar experienced some of the most severe dryness from January to early February, which disrupted the cropping season, particularly for rice and cash crops. As a result, this part of the country, that’s normal lean season begins in January, peaks in February and ends in March, may last until June 2017 due to the poor crop conditions and the high food prices on markets. The area also experienced flooding from Cyclone Enawo in March. 

    • Emergency food assistance is continuing in the South, following the past 3 years of severe below average production. This assistance may shift to recovery assistance in May in some districts such as Ambovombe, Amboasary and Taolagnaro where the emergency situation has passed. In cyclone affected districts in the northeast of the country, only 41 percent of people in need received emergency food assistance. This will leave them on Stressed (IPC Phase 2) until the main harvest in June. 

    Current Situation

    Cyclonic Activity: The 2017 cyclonic season affecting Madagascar, driven by positive SIOD, produced one large storm in March 2017. Cylcone ENAWO hit the northeastern coast of Madagascar traversed the majority of the country and finally exited near Ambovombe in the South. Damage to household food stocks and crops were significant, particularly in the area of the northeast where the storm made landfall.

    Agroclimatology: Rainfall improved in March throughout the country, compared to January and February, but it came too late to assist crops in the southeast and in the main producing areas. Particularly affected were crops that rely on a constant supply of soil moisture such as cereals. Currently, the western part (Boeny Region) of Madagascar which normally produces more than 10 percent of rice production in Madagascar is still suffering from insufficient rainfall. Rice production is only expected to be 50 percent of normal in Boeny Region.

    Export cash crops: Cash crops in eastern Madagascar that had already suffered from the January/February rainfall deficit were significantly damaged by cyclone ENAWO, particularly vanilla crops that were almost completely destroyed (70 percent of vanilla crops were damaged in Antalaha district). The cyclone also damaged fruit trees such as litchi, orange, banana and breadfruit, which are also an important source of income for farmers particularly in Antalaha, Maroantsetra and Brickaville.

    Rice imports: the Observatoire du Riz (OdR) reported that the total volume of rice imports was 41,762 metric tons during the two first months of 2017. This is 50 percent less than the five-year average  but 72 percent higher than last year at the same time. The April price of imported rice was 30 percent above the 2012-2016 average.Compared to March 2017, prices of imported rice in April remained stable.

    Prices for locally grown food products: Local rice, maize and cassava prices usually start to decline in April at end of lean season.  In April 2017, Gasy rice prices increased by more than 30 percent in main urban cities compared to the 5-year average. Additionally, the INSTAT CPI (Consumer Index) reported a price increase of 7 percent between February 2016 and February 2017. Local rice prices are particularly high compared to past years due to lower production of first season of rice as a result of the dryness episodes observed in early 2017 in the southeast and in the main rice producing areas of Madagascar. Prices for maize, the main substitute for rice, were 53 percent higher than the five year average in much of the country.  In the South, cassava prices started to decrease or remain stable.

    Humanitarian assistance: 95,650 persons received emergency food assistance in cyclone-affected areas. BNGRC distributed to 44,764 cyclone-affected people in nine regions. WFP has reached 45,272 beneficiaries and  CRS targeted 30,000 people in Brickaville while ADRA reached 5,614 people. In the South, FID did 20 days of cash for Work in March-April and targeted 250 persons. CARITAS URGENCE distributed 36,386 Euros worth of cash and food assistance in early April while WHH distributed 150 MT of food in Androy, Anosy and Atsimo Atsinanana Regions.

    Livestock: With acceptable rains since December 2016 in the South, pastures conditions are normal. Households started restoring their livestock herds and herd sizes are improving but are still below average, particularly in Beloha and Tsihombe.

    Nutrition: SMART surveys undertaken from February 23 to April 05 revealed that wasting in Beloha and Amboasary is above alert level (above 13 percent). As for stunting, it also showed an alert situation in Beloha and an emergency situation in Tsihombe, Amboasary and Taolagnaro.

    Updated Assumptions

    The current situation has not affected most of the assumptions used to develop FEWS NET’s most likely scenario for the period of February 2017 to September 2017. However the following assumptions have been updated:

    • Rice Production: Rice production in Boeny, Sofia, and Alaotra Mangoro Regions will likely be 50 percent of average.
    • Cash crops: Cash crop production will likely decline this year, especially vanilla, litchi, clove and coffee production. The harvest of pulses has begun in the South and is expected to be near normal.
    • Pests: Maize crops are being attacked by caterpillars in the South, and rats in the Southeast (around 5 percent of maize crop production affected).
    • Humanitarian Assistance: Food assistance will continue until June 2017 in some districts of the South, including Tsihombe, Betioky and Beloha. In cyclone-affected areas, 170,432 people are expected to be assisted with food until June 2017 to meet the affected populations’ immediate food needs.
    • Security context: An increase in insecurity is seen throughout the country, which may affect food security in some areas. In the Northeast, more non-mature vanilla theft has been reported and poor farmers are the first victims.
    • Nutrition: GAM will decline in many part of Madagascar at the end of the lean season and the coming harvest period. Many actors including WFP and ACF will continue malnutrition prevention programming. Massive MUAC screenings will be pursued monthly until September 2017 in the South by the Ministry of Health.

    Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

    In the Extreme south: cassava, maize, and livestock rearing livelihood zone (MG 24), food insecurity improved in April as a result of the start of maize and pulse harvests in March. Household income and food diversity slightly improved. Food prices were stable compared to previous months. Food assistance distribution is expected to continue until June in some areas remaining in difficulty from the past three years. Therefore, households will be in Stressed (IPC Phase 2!), until the main harvest in June, except Ambovombe and Bekily (IPC Phase 2) where the situation is better even without humanitarian assistance. Although agricultural production will be higher than last year, it is expected to still be below average. The recovery process will be slowed by structural issues, below-normal staple food production and agricultural incomes and assets (ex. livestock). As a result, despite the harvest period, most households in this livelihood zone will continue to experience Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security outcomes between June and September.

    In the Southwest: cassava and small ruminants (MG 23), prices remain high in the rice producing north of Betioky which experienced dryness at the beginning of the year. With the restoration of food stocks, and livestock herds, and the high prices of cassava and maize on local markets, most households in this zone will be in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity in April 2017. However, some households in the district of Betioky may face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) during the same month, though not large enough populations to change the Phase classification of the entire zone. Households will likely remain in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity for the remainder of the Outlook period until September.

    In the Southeast: coffee, litchis, cassava (MG 19), rainfall deficits delayed rice planting. This area is highly dependent on cash crops (litchis, cloves and coffee) which are normally harvested from November-December but also produces its own main staple food in a normal year. The high economic vulnerability of households in MG 29 was aggravated with recent high food prices at markets early in the year. This will make this area experience worse outcomes this year than usual and may experience Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity from April 2017 to September 2017. Particularly, some households in the district of Vohipeno may face Crisis (IPC  Phase 3) in April due to heavy flooding after the cyclone, which damaged  crops (rice, coffee and orange) and households income sources such as raw materials for handcrafts. However, the affected population is not large enough to change the Phase classification of the entire zone.

    In the Northeast and East cyclone-affected areas, damage to livelihoods and difficult access to the areas stressed the food security situation there. Therefore many households will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) in April. Humanitarian assistance is already well distributed and the recovery process is expected to be quick.

    Households throughout Madagascar, despite the expected failure of rice crop production, which will mostly affect poor urban households, households will continue to have relatively normal access to food due to normal income levels, crops from own production and regular market supplies from 2017 harvests and rice imports. As a result, the majority of the country will continue to experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity between February and September 2017.

    Figures Figure 1. Pourcentage des précipitations moyennes du 1er décembre 2016 au 28 février 2017

    Figure 1

    Figure 1. Pourcentage des précipitations moyennes du 1er décembre 2016 au 28 février 2017

    Source: FEWS NET/USGS

    Figure 2. Prix du riz local (changement du % en avril 2017 par rapport à la moyenne quinquennale)

    Figure 2

    Figure 2. Prix du riz local (changement du % en avril 2017 par rapport à la moyenne quinquennale)

    Source: FEWS NET/OdR

    This Food Security Outlook Update provides an analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography over the next six months. Learn more here.

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