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Maize harvests in the Grand South produce minimal seasonal improvements

  • Key Message Update
  • Madagascar
  • May 2022
Maize harvests in the Grand South produce minimal seasonal improvements

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Multiple consecutive droughts, an atypically long lean season amidst above-average prices and below-average labor demand, and significantly below-average maize harvests are driving Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) outcomes across the Grand South. The extension of humanitarian food assistance is mitigating worse outcomes as seasonal improvements are expected to be only marginal, especially in the southwest. Additional improvements are expected from August when households begin to harvest cassava and sweet potato; however, significantly below-average soil moisture conditions are also expected to negatively impact root and tuber crop production.

    • In western parts of the country, severe drought conditions have also reduced crop expectations and households are realizing somewhat below-average harvests, but still sufficient to improve outcomes to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) in most areas. In cyclone-affected areas along southeastern Madagascar, recovery is still ongoing to restore livelihoods and shelter, resulting in Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) or Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes. Across the rest of the country where rice production is near-average, Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food security outcomes are expected through September.

    • Humanitarian assistance in the regions of Androy, Anosy, Atsimo Andrefana, and Atsimo Atsinanana has been extended at current levels through June, covering up to 60 percent of the population in these areas and providing between 50 and 100 percent of households’ caloric needs. In July and August, assistance is expected to be reduced across the Grand South; however, it will still cover a significant percentage of the population in Amboassary, Ampanihy, Betioky, and Ambovombe, mitigating worse outcomes for these regions.

    • Cereal and legume harvests in the South and rice harvests in the North and Central parts of Madagascar are ongoing, providing some labor opportunities, but not sufficient to change outcomes given heavy maize losses. Despite cyclone damage to rice production in eastern areas of the country, national local rice production is expected to be near-normal as the most important production areas received less rainfall from the passing storms and were, therefore, less impacted. Seasonal labor migration for cash crops, especially for poor households from the Grand South to northern and eastern parts of Madagascar, is expected to begin on time in July with the reduction of COVID-19 restrictions. However, anticipated slightly-below to below-average production of vanilla, cloves, and coffee will reduce labor demand and constrain migration and income from this livelihood option to below-normal levels,

    • Month-on-month price trends varied in April but remained significantly above average. Staple cereal prices typically begin to drop in April due to improved supplies from cereal harvest. This year, however, prices of local staples are expected to stay above average across all markets given below-average production. Prices of local rice and dried cassava were higher in April compared to last year’s levels across all markets, except in Antananarivo. Meanwhile, prices for imported commodities are expected to increase significantly due to global trends in fuel and staple food prices, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine and even further by the depreciation of the Ariary.

    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.

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