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Harvests to temporarily alleviate food insecurity in southern Madagascar

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Madagascar
  • April 2014
Harvests to temporarily alleviate food insecurity in southern Madagascar

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected outlook through September 2014
  • Key Messages
    • The main rice harvest began in April, marking the end of the lean season in northern and central Madagascar. Due to average to above-average rainfall in most areas of the country, the absence of major cyclones in atypical areas, and ongoing locust control efforts, staple crop production is expected to be higher than 2012/2013 and near normal.
    • In southwestern areas of the country, households currently experiencing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Stress (IPC Phase 2) food security outcomes are expected to return to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity in June, as rice, maize and cowpea harvests come on the market.
    • Although households currently in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) will return to Minimal acute food insecurity in June, households will repay debts incurred during the abnormal lean season, forcing them back into Stress (IPC Phase 2) in September, with their lean season starting three months earlier than normal.

    ZONE

    CURRENT ANOMALIES

    PROJECTED ANOMALIES

    Southern Madagascar (Ambovombe, Tulear, Ambosary)

    Dried cassava prices 75-350 percent higher than the previous year is limiting household access to this preferred staple.

    Dried cassava prices to remain significantly above the previous year and two-year averages, limiting household access to this preferred staple.

     


    Projected outlook through September 2014

    April is typically marked by the end of the lean season in north-central Madagascar as the main harvest begins. Most of Madagascar is currently experiencing Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity, but in some areas of the southwest, which experienced multiple shocks in early 2013, poor households’ access to food continues to be constrained by high staple food prices, weak purchasing power, and limited own stocks. Districts currently in Stress (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) are listed below:

     

    Stress (IPC Phase 2)

    Crisis (IPC Phase 3)

    ·    Manja and Belo-Tsiribhina (Menabe region)

    ·     Ampanihy and Betiocky (Atsimo Andrefana region)

    ·    Morombe (Atsimo-Andrefana region)

    ·     Tsihombe, Beloha, and Bekily (Androy region)

    ·    Antsalova (Melaky region)

     

    ·    Vaingaindrano (Atsimo Atsinanana region)

     

     

    Prospects for the harvest currently underway remain good. Despite periods of insufficient or poorly distributed rain in isolated areas of north-central and southeastern Madagascar, rainfall continued normally in March. In addition, as Figure 2 demonstrates, rainfall has significantly improved compared to last year in major surplus-producing areas, where poor rainfall contributed substantially to reduced crop production. Moreover, no areas have been affected by more than one cyclone this season, and no cyclones have impacted atypical areas. Taking into consideration the above factors, and given the advanced stage of crop development observed in areas visited in February/March 2014 and recent NDVI imagery (Figure 3), a near-average harvest is expected. Finally, ongoing treatment of the current locust infestation is expected to mitigate damages, though no updated information has been published since the March 2014 Madagascar Remote Monitoring Update.

    March 2014 prices for domestic and imported rice are near the same level as in March 2013 for most reference markets. This is helping maintain good staple food access for the predominantly rice-consuming population in northern and central Madagascar. However, prices for dried cassava, particularly in the south, remain significantly above their previous-year levels and the two-year average. The most significant spike is in the southeastern city of Ambosary, where field visits have validated price reporting of cassava at 1,800 MGA/kg, up 260 percent from the previous month, and 350 percent from the previous year. Interviews with traders in Ambosary indicate that these prices are due to an almost complete lack of cassava in that market following poor production and waterlogging in early 2013, as well as poor production in September 2013. March 2013 reporting also suggested that poor market access for traders was contributing to higher-than-normal prices. Prices for dried cassava in Ambovombe and Tulear are 75-125 percent higher than last year, and 125-154 percent higher than the two-year average. These high prices are limiting poor households’ access to cassava, which is the major staple in the south.

    Despite these price trends, indicators of common coping strategies suggest that households may have reduced their reliance on some food insecurity-related coping. For instance, prices of cactus fruit in Ambosary and Ambovombe have returned to normal at approximately 20 MGA/fruit, after dropping during the lean season as households collected and sold more than typical amounts, in order to earn income. Furthermore, field reports indicate that the generalized sale of livestock has decreased, and goat prices have increased accordingly.

    As the harvest reaches its peak in June, households currently in Stress (IPC Phase 2) are expected to improve to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity, and will remain there through at least September 2014. Households currently in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) are also expected to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity as the harvest peaks. However, these households will repay debts incurred during the abnormal lean season, forcing them back into Stress (IPC Phase 2) in September, with their lean season starting three months earlier than normal.
     

    Figures Figure 1. Madagascar IPC Classification, Current Situation, April 2014

    Figure 1

    Figure 1. Madagascar IPC Classification, Current Situation, April 2014

    Source:

    Calendrier saisonnier dans une année typique

    Figure 2

    Calendrier saisonnier dans une année typique

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 3. Cumul de pluviométrie estimée (RFE), en millimètres, à Sofia, Madagascar

    Figure 3

    Figure 3. Cumul de pluviométrie estimée (RFE), en millimètres, à Sofia, Madagascar

    Source: USGS

    Figure 4. Pourcentage de la moyenne eMODIS-NDVI

    Figure 4

    Figure 4. Pourcentage de la moyenne eMODIS-NDVI

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 5

    Source:

    In remote monitoring, a coordinator typically works from a nearby regional office. Relying on partners for data, the coordinator uses scenario development to conduct analysis and produce monthly reports. As less data may be available, remote monitoring reports may have less detail than those from countries with FEWS NET offices. Learn more about our work here.

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