Food Security Outlook

Ongoing drought will drive food insecurity during the 2016/17 consumption year

February 2016 to September 2016

February - May 2016

Madagascar February 2016 Food Security Projections for February to May

June - September 2016

Madagascar February 2016 Food Security Projections for June to September

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

Presence countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Remote monitoring
countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

Key Messages

  • An El Niño-related drought is ongoing in the South and West, with certain areas facing one of the driest rainy seasons in 35 years. Although sufficient rainfall in central and northern parts of country will contribute to near-average harvests in those areas, staple food production at a national-level will likely be below-average due to significant declines in production in drought-affected areas. 

  • Poor households in the south, particularly in Androy, Atsimo Andrefana, Tsihombe and Ambovombe, will continue to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity between February and April 2016 due to the effects of two consecutive years of below-average crop production in 2014 and 2015 and an ongoing, extended lean season caused by drought-related delays in 2016 harvests.

  • Between April and August, main season harvests will slightly improve food insecurity in the South, although many households will still face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes given the effects of expected below-average harvests. Crop failures in the districts of Tsihombe and Ambovombe, however, will likely result in a continuation of Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes for affected populations in these districts.

  • Looking towards the next lean season (December 2016 to February 2017), food insecurity will likely escalate across drought-affected areas of southern Madagascar both in terms of severity of outcomes and the magnitude of the food insecure population. Emergency humanitarian assistance to save lives, treat and prevent acute malnutrition, and protect livelihoods will be needed for worst-affected populations. 

National Overview

Current Situation
Seasonal progress
  • Rainfall totals: According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), below-average rainfall levels and vegetation anomalies have been recorded during the 2015/16 rainy season to date (November to February) over southern and western Madagascar (Figures 1 – 3). Additionally, the temporal distribution of rainfall over southern areas was poor, particularly between December and January when crops planted in November were in the beginning stages of flowering, a time period when adequate water levels are particularly crucial for crop development. As a result, many initial crops in the far south failed with replanting activities occurring in January. Rainfall deficits and atypically high temperatures have also delayed agricultural activities and stunted crop growth in Atsimo Andrefana, Menabe, and Melaky.
  • Cropped areas: In most northern and central areas of the country, including Sofia, Haute Matsiatra, Alaotra Mangoro, Analamanga, Itasy, Vakinankaratra and Bongolava, key informant reports indicate that the area planted this year was similar to last year’s levels. However, in the South, particularly in the Extreme south: cassava, maize, and livestock livelihood zone, the land area currently under cultivation is below typical levels. This is due to several factors including: 1) reduced seed availability after two consecutive below-average harvests in 2014 and 2015, 2) replanting activities in January after the first round of 2016 season crops failed, and 3) reduced labor availability for land preparation activities due to a high level of migration to mining areas and urban centers as a coping strategy after last year’s poor crop production.
  • Locusts: The third and last phase of the joint Government/FAO Migratory locust control program begun about seven months ago, although a financing gap of one million USD remains to be filled. Since the end of 2015, diffused adult populations of Malagasy Migratory locusts persisted in Bongolava, Befandriana, Belomatra, Vineta, the plains of Betsiriry, and the plains and plateaus of Morondava. However, these locusts were transiens degregans or solitary individuals, in low to medium density.
  • Early rice harvests in central and northern areas: For regions that have two to three rice seasons per year, such as Diana, Sava, Analanjirofo and parts of Atsinanana, Bongolava, Vatovavy Fito Vinany, Ihosy and Analamanga, an on-time rice harvest in January replenished household food stocks and brought an end to the 2016 lean season.
Markets and trade
  • Prices for locally grown food products: At markets monitored by FEWS NET using Observatoire du Riz (OdR) price data, prices of locally grown products (maize, cassava, and gasy rice) were either stable or rose slightly between December 2015 and January 2016, at the peak of the lean season. Exceptions, however, were dried cassava in Ambovombre Androy, Antananarivo, Mahajanga, and Toiliara where prices fell by -5, -8, -17, and -9 percent, respectively. Compared to the 2011-2014 average[1], prices were generally either stable or had increased moderately (less than 20 percent), other than for dried cassava in Ambovombe Androy where January prices were 40 percent above the average.
  • Prices for imported rice: In addition to locally grown rice, cassava, and maize, imported rice is an important staple food for many households in Madagascar. According to OdR’s price bulletins, imported rice prices in January 2016 were slightly above December 2014 levels (+2 to +17 percent) and were either similar to or above the 2011-2014 average (-1 to +16 percent). This is possibly due in part to the depreciation of the Malagasy ariary during recent years, whose value has declined 29 percent in February 2016 compared to the five-year average.
Other key factors
  • Humanitarian Assistance: USAID through local NGOs and WFP provided $4.5 million to support 120,000 beneficiaries between October 2015 and February 2016 through both in kind and cash transfer modalities. This assistance mainly targeted food insecure populations in the southern part of the country, including the districts of Amboasary Atsimo and the Androy region. While this assistance is helping beneficiary households meet their immediate food needs, the program is not yet funded beyond February. In the northern part of the country, under the coordination of the National Office of Disaster and Risk Management, partners provided safety net, food and temporary shelter for flood-affected people.
 

[1] Comparisons are made to December 2014 and the 2011-2014 average because price data collection stopped between January and November 2015. 

 

Assumptions

The most likely scenario for the February to September 2016 period is based on the following national level assumptions:

  • Rainfall: Seasonal forecasts from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) suggest an increased probability of below-average rainfall over western and southern Madagascar (ex. Atsimo Andrefana, Androy, Anosy, Melaky and Menabe regions) between March and May 2016. Meanwhile, for northern and central areas, these forecasts suggest normal rainfall while the SARCOF forecast indicates average to above-average rains between February and April. Consequently, FEWS NET is assuming below-average rainfall over southern and western Madagascar and average to above-average rainfall elsewhere.
  • Locust situation: FEWS NET is assuming that given control operations that started in December and are planned to continue until June, the locust outbreak will not worsen or spread beyond currently affected zones. Resulting crop damages will be below an average year’s levels.  
  • Greens harvests: In most areas, green harvests will occur on time and at near average levels. However, in drought-affected areas of the South where crop development has been poor and behind schedule, green harvests will be delayed, contributing to an extension of the lean season. 
  • Crop production: Annual 2015/16 rice and maize crop production will be below average. While in the central and northern parts of Madagascar, sufficient rainfall levels will contribute to near-average production, national totals will be negatively affected by severe dryness recorded this year in the South and West.  Crop harvests in these areas will likely be one month delayed and below average. Affected areas will include Boeny and Melaky, two surplus rice production areas, as well as Atsimo Andrefana, Anosy, Androy, Melaky, and Menabe regions. Flooding in northern Madagascar will likely result in localized production deficits although it is not expected to have any major impacts at a national level as flooding will not affect the second rice season (harvested in August) and the actual area flooded represents less than one percent of the total land area under rice paddy cultivation. In the south, cassava plants will be less impacted by the drought, although production will still be below average due to reductions in land area planted and early harvests that reduce overall yields.
  • Agriculture labor: Below-average crop production linked to drought conditions, particularly in the South, will negatively affect the availability of labor work opportunities for work including weeding and harvesting. In the northern areas, agricultural wages will be near average expect for in localized areas affected by floods.  
  • Staple food prices: Due to expected below-average crop production, prices are expected to be above average during the scenario period. For gasy rice at most markets, prices will fall during the harvest period and reach their lowest levels around June. Prices will then increase at a slightly faster rate than usual at the end of the scenario period around August and September. Similar trends are expected for maize and cassava, although cassava prices will reach their lowest levels in July/August after the cassava harvest. Prices are expected to be highest in far southern areas for maize and cassava where a third consecutive year of drought will result in atypically low supplies, along with above-average market dependency for poor households.   
Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

Households in most parts of Madagascar outside of the South will continue to have relatively normal access to food due to normal income levels, crops from own production and regular market supplies from 2016 harvests and rice imports. As a result most areas will experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity between February and September 2016.

However, in far southern areas, food insecurity is expected to be elevated due to the impacts of several consecutive years of below-average production on food and incomes sources. To cope, atypical migration, livestock sales, and the early consumption of unripe watermelon and cactus have been observed during the first quarter of 2016. Despite these coping efforts, households in worst-affected areas will still be unable to meet basic food consumption requirements and will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) until the start of the next maize harvest in April. Meanwhile, in neighboring areas where the drought impacts have been less severe, households will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) until the harvests. 

Although harvests will likely be below average, with localized crop failures, food security outcomes are expected to improve for most households between May and September due to small food stocks from own production and declining food prices on local markets. During this time period, most poor households in drought-affected areas of the South will experience Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security outcomes. However, many poor households in the districts of Tsihombe and Ambovombe will likely face a near complete crop failure and will continue to face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity.

Additionally, poor households in certain areas of Melaky and Menebe will likely have below-average harvests this year and will begin to have difficulties affording both essential food and nonfood expenditures once household food stocks deplete earlier than usual. As a result, these households will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) for the majority of the June to September period.

Looking towards the next lean season (December 2016 to February 2017), food insecurity will likely escalate across drought-affected areas of southern Madagascar both in terms of severity of outcomes and the magnitude of the food insecure population. Emergency humanitarian assistance to save lives, treat and prevent acute malnutrition, and protect livelihoods will be needed for worst-affected populations.

 

For more information on the outlook for specific areas of concern, please click the download button at the top of the page for the full report.

About Scenario Development

To project food security outcomes, FEWS NET develops a set of assumptions about likely events, their effects, and the probable responses of various actors. FEWS NET analyzes these assumptions in the context of current conditions and local livelihoods to arrive at a most likely scenario for the coming eight months. Learn more here.

About FEWS NET

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity. Created by USAID in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises, FEWS NET provides evidence-based analysis on approximately 30 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, USGS, and CHC-UCSB, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica.
Learn more About Us.

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