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Ongoing rice harvests improve food access in areas impacted by Cyclone Freddy

  • Key Message Update
  • Madagascar
  • May 2023
Ongoing rice harvests improve food access in areas impacted by Cyclone Freddy

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Cereal and legume harvests are nearing completion across the Grand South, significantly improving access to food for most poor households, given relatively better production during the 2022/23 agricultural season. However, multiple years of drought previous to this season and limited agricultural inputs still constrained harvests to below average in most areas, limiting overall improvements and outcomes to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and, in worst-affected areas, Crisis (IPC Phase 3). While most humanitarian assistance has ended post-harvest across the Grand South, it is expected to continue mitigating worse outcomes in limited areas of the Grand Southeast, supporting Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes where applicable. Throughout the rest of the Grand Southeast, ongoing rice harvests are improving outcomes to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) as household reserves have been resupplied, the excess stock is generating income through market sale, and prices are seasonally declining for this key commodity.

    • Rice harvests began in localized areas of the Grand Southeast in late April and have now expanded across the region. Although erratic rainfall distribution, the scarcity of quality seeds, and above-average prices for agricultural inputs all negatively impacted cropped area, Cyclone Freddy's heavy rainfall was mostly favorable to the development of this crop, causing minimal damage in most parts of the region. In addition, some farmers planted short-cycle rice after Cyclone Freddy, which is expected to extend the rice harvest by approximately one month and improve harvest outcomes to near average.

    • In the Grand Southeast, the passage of Cyclone Freddy caused localized damage and losses to root and tuber crops, reducing harvest expectations to somewhat below normal. Meanwhile, in the Grand South, the availability of both cassava and sweet potato planting material throughout the season was severely limited. Despite positive soil moisture conditions, harvests for these crops will be below average and, in areas of the Grand Southwest where households are expected to rely on green harvests – thereby reducing yields and totals for cassava and sweet potatoes – household stocks may last as little as one month.

    • Humanitarian food assistance has largely ended with the arrival of harvests and an end to the annual lean season across the Grand South and Grand Southeast. However, food assistance delivery and livelihood programming are expected to continue in isolated areas of the Grand Southeast, which have been severely impacted by cyclones in recent years, at least through May 2023. Plans for a potential increase in coverage in these areas and the likely resumption of delivery of humanitarian assistance in the Grand South at the outset of the next lean season are not yet finalized.

    Recommended Citation: FEWS NET. Madagascar Key Message Update, May 2023: Ongoing rice harvests improve food access in areas impacted by Cyclone Freddy, 2023. 

    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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