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Parts of the Grand Southeast begin to see benefits of rice harvest

  • Key Message Update
  • Madagascar
  • May 2024
Parts of the Grand Southeast begin to see benefits of rice harvest

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • In the Grand South, ongoing legume and peanut harvests are expected to continue improving households’ income through to the harvests of root and tubers in July, allowing them to buy food and cover some essential non-food needs in the wake of below-average maize harvests. Production of all crops in the 2023/24 season was below normal due to erratic rainfall distribution and below-average cumulative totals in some areas, which prevented crops from developing and maturing adequately. Worst affected households are already starting to run out of their food crops, but most are still able to rely on cash crop harvests to buy cassava – the most affordable staple – on the market. In addition, with the start of the main season rice harvest as well as the onions, roots, and tubers harvests, labor opportunities are expected to provide additional income for poor and very poor households. With expanded availability of food stocks from own production and at local markets and seasonal increases in labor opportunities, food consumption has improved during the post-harvest period and will support Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes for all districts in the Grand South through August/September. However, a portion of poorer households – that harvested significantly below average staple crops and have fewer cash crops or other income-generating opportunities, will struggle to cover their food needs and will likely employ Crisis (IPC Phase 3) coping strategies, especially as household expenditures increase seasonally with various cultural obligations and celebrations and with preparations for the new school year and the next agricultural season.
    • In the Grand Southeast, the rice harvest has already begun in localized areas and will expand across all producing areas in June. Legumes and groundnuts are also currently being harvested in Midongy Atsimo and Befotaka, while the cash crop harvest for coffee, green vanilla, and others will begin by July in various producing areas. According to key informants, crop production is likely to remain below normal in the 2023/24 season because of successive heavy rains at the beginning of the year, causing localized flooding, crop damage, and poultry losses in the lowlands. However, food consumption and household incomes are beginning to improve with the onset of the main rice harvest, as household reserves are re-supplied, and crop sales begin. This will improve purchasing power, allow for recovery from flood losses, and provide some security against high prices for non-food items such as agricultural inputs for the next agricultural season. The most inaccessible parts of districts worst affected by previous cyclone strikes are likely to remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) until the rice harvest concludes and its benefits become more pronounced, but all other areas of the Grand Southeast are expected to maintain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes throughout the analysis period with a gradual reduction of households experiencing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) over the post-harvest season. 
    • In terms of production flows, areas with abundant stocks are constantly supplying deficit-producing areas to satisfy local demand. The government has continued its policy of setting gasoline and diesel prices, which is helping to limit increases in food prices by keeping transportation costs stable. As a result, food inflation has been steadily decreasing since the beginning of 2023, falling from nearly 15 percent down to 6.3 percent at the end of the first quarter of 2024. In addition, with the arrival of the main harvest, local rice prices are likely to seasonally decrease while remaining higher than last year. In March, according to price monitoring in the Grand Southeast, staple food prices were generally above average, with the highest prices in hard-to-access areas such as Nosy Varika. Here, prices for maize reached almost 4,100 MGA per kilo, and both rice and cassava averaged 3,000 MGA per kilo. In the South, rice and maize prices remained seasonally high, at almost 50 percent or more the price of one kilo of cassava. Given the rice export regulations from India, tariffs, and the low value of the Malagasy currency, the price of imported rice rose year-on-year by 32 percent in Toliara and by 30 percent in Nosy Varika. Local price prices increased year-on-year by 14 percent in Toliara but remained stable in Nosy Varika. Following below-average harvests, households will begin to rely on the markets earlier than typical, at prices that remain above average. 

    Recommended citation: FEWS NET. Madagascar Key Message Update May 2024: Parts of the Grand Southeast begin to see benefits of rice harvest, 2024.

    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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