Skip to main content

Negative impacts of multiple droughts and cyclones driving high food needs this lean season

  • Key Message Update
  • Madagascar
  • March 2022
Negative impacts of multiple droughts and cyclones driving high food needs this lean season

Download the Report

  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Severe drought conditions, low labor demand, and significantly above average prices are limiting purchasing power and resulting in consumption gaps among poor households across the Grand South. Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) outcomes are likely to persist through April due to ongoing humanitarian assistance, then deteriorate to Emergency (IPC Phase 4) in worst-affected southwestern areas in Atsimo Andrefana and Androy, given extremely poor harvest expectations. Relatively better rainfall performance in Anosy is likely to result in sufficient maize, cassava, and sweet potato harvests to improve outcomes to Crisis (IPC Phase 3). Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected in southeastern coastal and inland areas negatively affected by recent cyclones, while western areas impacted by drought will likely experience Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes through May. Cyclone recovery and harvests are expected to allow for a return of Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes across most areas outside of the Grand South from July to September. 

    • Nearly half a million people have been negatively affected by flooding since January. Cyclones Batsirai and Emnati killed more than 200 people and caused significant crop and infrastructure damage, including the severe flooding of 60,000 hectares of rice fields, which FEWS NET estimates will likely reduce the country’s local rice production by more than 40 percent. Tropical Storm Ana damaged a further 35,000 hectares of rice and 6,500 hectares of maize in the central prime land around Antananarivo. WFP has increased humanitarian assistance plans to target more than 465,000 in cyclone-affected areas and additional UN funds are reportedly pending.  

      Poor and very poor households in the Grand South continue to experience significant food consumption gaps with a likely atypical extension of the annual lean season. Typically, food security outcomes start improving at the end of February or early March with the availability of green harvests. However, a poor start to the rainfall season delayed plantings, and crops have yet to reach maturation. These households, therefore, remain dependent on market purchase – and humanitarian assistance in some cases – to meet their food needs, amid extremely high prices. Prices of staple foods are reportedly up to four times average levels, putting pressure on household budgets and constraining purchasing power.  

    • Agricultural labor activities have also been negatively affected by the late start of the rainfall season and poor rainfall performance. Planting and weeding are typically the most important activities through February but, this year, they are significantly below average. The continuation of severe drought conditions through March – particularly in the southwest – is expected to result in significantly below-average harvests in the Grand South, constraining agricultural labor opportunities for the remainder of the season. In addition, the negative impacts of recent cyclones are likely to also reduce such activities in central and some northeastern parts of the country where production will likely be reduced due to floods.

    This Key Message Update provides a high-level 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. Learn more here.

    Get the latest food security updates in your inbox Sign up for emails

    The information provided on this Website is not official U.S. Government information and does not represent the views or positions of the U.S. Agency for International Development or the U.S. Government.

    Jump back to top