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On time start of the rainy season with near to above average rainfall levels

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Madagascar
  • December 2017
On time start of the rainy season with near to above average rainfall levels

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Fall Armyworm has been confirmed in Madagascar according to the Plant Protection Department in the Ministry of Agriculture. Maize fields in three communes (Ankililoaky, Milenaky and Antanimeva) are affected in the Southwestern region of Madagascar. A contingency plan to contain it and to limit its spread has been implemented.

    • Prices of local rice are above 2,000 Ariary in 67 percent of markets monitored by ODR, and poor households are struggling to afford it. As a result, people have started adopting food coping strategy such as to switch less preferred foods, like imported rice in southern Madagascar and in Antananarivo, or dried cassava and wild foods in rural Fianarantsoa and in the Southeast.

    • Labor opportunity has increased in producing areas with the ongoing rainy season. Cropped areas for maize and pulses were expanded from last year and need more agricultural labor. Rice transplantation is also ongoing and there is need for any available labor. Labor prices have remained at normal levels.

    • As expected, the rainy season started on time in November throughout Madagascar. Rainfall is sufficient and regular enough to favor agriculture. Risk of flooding is high in many parts of Madagascar such as in Analamanga and Itasy regions. During the first week of December, moderate to abundant rainfall accumulations were also observed in the districts of Antsohihy, Fianarantsoa and Fort-Dauphin.

    Current Situation

    • Export cash crops:  Cash crops for export are mainly grown in the East and Southeast coast of Madagascar by small farmers. Clove harvests started in September in Vangaindrano and Analanjirofo Region, with around 27,000ha of cloves planted by about 30,000 producers. According to clove exporters in Madagascar, the production of cloves this year tripled compared to 5-years ago (from 6,000 MT in 2013 to 15,000 MT in 2017) but remains stable compared to last year. Producer price is half of last year (6,000 ariary per kilo versus 15,000 ariary last year) due to lower quality because clove nails could not dry properly in the persistent rain. Litchi season started in November and according to the Toamasina Horticultural Technical Center (CTHT), Madagascar is expected to produce 70,000 MT and will export 18,000 MT to Europe.
    • Crop production: Cassava and sweet potato harvests have recently concluded, and farmers are now selling dried cassava. Maize harvests have already begun in villages located along rivers in the South and in Vakinakaratra region. First season rice harvest (usually 10 percent of total annual production) is ongoing and will continue until January. Farmers are transplanting second season rice (the main season) which is expected to be harvested in May.  
    • Rice imports: Observatoire de Riz (OdR) data shows that the average price of imported rice in 18 markets was at MGA 1,850 in November 2017. It increased by 7 percent compared to October 2017 and by 11 percent compared to last year and was 26 percent above the 5-year average. The most important increase this month was noticed in Antsirabe I where prices are very unstable in recent months as the supply fluctuates. Prices in southern Madagascar remain stable because of regular supply from Tulear and Fort-Dauphin. Due to the increase in quantity of imported rice estimated at 406,450 metric tons during the 10 first months of 2017, it was expected that prices would drop, but due to the depreciation of the Ariary compared to the US dollar, the traders holding stocks, and local people being suspicious of the quality of imported rice, a drop has not been seen. Instead people continue to eat local rice, in smaller, diluted quantities or with fewer additional foods.
    • Prices for locally grown food products:  Prices of local rice are globally stable in the South and decreased in some areas with the coming first season harvest.  Maize prices decreased by 16 percent from October to November due to the arrival of new harvests to some markets, particularly from communes near rivers in Vakinakaratra and Atsimo Andrefana regions who could plant earlier this year. Prices are still 15 percent higher than last year and 22 percent higher than the 5-year average. Cassava prices increased by 13 percent from October to November because of the decrease in supply. However, it remains near last year’s level and near the 5-year average. Dried cassava still is abundant in transition markets like Ejeda, Ankaramena and Ambalavao. Surplus dried cassava is also milled to flour and sold in markets or used by local feed meal producers. Sweet potato prices in November increased by 17 percent compared to October because of the end of harvest period. Prices are near the 5-year average and near last year’s level.
    • Humanitarian assistance: Assistance is reduced compared to last year and is below average. Humanitarian organizations have transitioned their focus to resilience activities. There are more cash distributions than food, as markets are still functioning and relatively well supplied. Most distributions are taking place in the Districts of Beloha and Tsihombe. WFP, has distributed food for work in 39 fokontany in the commune of Faux Cap (1,974 households, about 80 percent of the commune), and in 46 fokontany in the commune of Beloha (3,875 households, about 50 percent of the commune) since September. WFP also continues to provide cash (60,000 Ariary per household) to families of undernourished TB affected people as a protection ration in the same areas. They expect to purchase local rice and maize in the district of Amboasary to distribute to the most vulnerable communes that were most affected by deficits this year. CRS has two on-going integrated projects related to resilience in Southern Madagascar: Havelo and DiNER III. DiNER III is a fair seed project covering 8 communes and targeting 24,021 households, about 76 percent of the targeted commune population, of which 6,812 also received food through Havelo. ADRA also has two food security projects in Southern Madagascar, a school feeding project for 17,701 pupils in 103 primary schools of Ampanihy District and an agricultural and WASH project funded by OFDA/USAID in the district of Bekily targeting 10,000 households, which is near half of the population in targeted communes. The Malagasy Government continues their cash transfers under their safety net programs though FID using Word Bank and UNICEF funds for households with children under 5 by encouraging them to invest in trade activities and in small livestock breeding.

    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 October 2017 to May 2018. However, the following assumptions have been updated:

    • Rainy season: According to NMME probabilistic forecasts for Africa, the rainy season is expected to be normal to above normal in  north and central Madagascar within the outlook period. Rainfall will be likely normal to below normal in southern Madagascar. The chance of cyclonic activity for Madagascar from December 2017 to March 2018 remain high.
    • Agricultural Production and cropped areas: The major part of first season rice is expected to be harvested in December and January. Production will likely be normal. Farmers are transplanting rice this month for the main season which will likely be harvested starting in May. Maize and pulses were planted in November/December and will likely be harvested in March/April. Production will likely be better than last year and near normal with the expanded cropped areas.
    • Household Food stock availability: Poor household have already run out of their stocks. The availability of food until February will be reduced, both at the household level and in the markets, then it will improve with the l the maize and pulse harvest expected in March-April.
    • Cereal prices: According to FEWSNET price projections, the price of local rice in Antananarivo is expected to slightly decrease from January to May but will remain above average. The price of local rice in Mananjary will continue to increase to  around  2,000 Ariary per kilo from February to May. Prices of maize will continue to increase in the South until January, and will likely reach around 1,400 Ariary/kg, but will then probably decrease with the new harvest to about 920 Ariary/kg in May. The price of imported rice will slightly decrease to 1,200 Arirary/kg from April-May 2018.

    Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

    Households throughout Madagascar, despite high prices of local rice, households will continue to have relatively normal access to food but with preference for cheaper foods. As a result, most of the country will continue to experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity throughout the outlook period with some pocket of Stressed (IPC Phase 2) in urban areas such as Antananarivo IV and VI, Antsirabe I, Toamasina I and Mahajanga I.

    In the, households depleted their stock from their own harvests and depend more and more on market purchases. With higher food prices, people will likely not be able meet their food needs through February and households may face Crisis (IPC Phase 3). Maize availability and income from pulse crops is expected to improve starting from March to help households fill some gaps in their food consumption. Thus, most households in this livelihood zone will experience Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security outcomes again between March and May 2018.

    In the Southwest: cassava and small ruminants (MG 23), Food insecurity is expected to increase with the coming lean season and may be higher than last year with the below-average production of food and low incomes sources. Because of this, and with the limited food assistance distribution, households will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in MG23. Food security outcomes are expected to remain the same through February 2018. However, the expected maize and pulse harvest may improve the situation between March and May 2018. Thus, most households in this livelihood zone will still experience Stressed (IPC Phase 2) between February and May 2018.

    In the Southeast: coffee, litchis, cassava (MG 19), The impact of dryness at the beginning of this year 2017 is still felt in MG19 although the situation seems to have improved since the recent harvest of maize and cassava. Increase in staple foods supplied from other regions such as Ihorombe or Haute Matsiatra has helped stabilize the situation. However, with the low production of cash crops, households in the zone will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity within the outlook period from December 2017 to May 2018.

    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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