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Below-average harvests likely to result in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes by July

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Madagascar
  • April 2015
Below-average harvests likely to result in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes by July

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through September 2015
  • Key Messages
    • The onset of rice and maize harvests, and to a lesser extent cassava harvests in some areas, are putting an end to the lean season countrywide and resulting in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity outcomes, including southern areas of concern where some households had faced Crisis (IPC Phase 3) during the peak of the lean season. 

    • Staple food production in key areas of concern is estimated to be well below average for the second year in a row in key southern areas of concern, including the regions of Atsimo Andrefana and Androy. An early exhaustion of staple food stocks, reduced coping capacity from the previous lean season, and unusually high staple food prices are likely to result in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes between July and September 2015. 


    Current Anomalies

    Projected Anomalies

    South and South-West

    Maize and cassava production is estimated to be well below average in southern areas of concern for the second year in a row.  

    An early exhaustion of stocks, earlier and higher than normal increases in staple food prices, and an early start to the lean season are likely.

    Projected Outlook through September 2015

    In a typical year, April generally marks the start of rice harvests in central and northern Madagascar, and the continuation since March of maize and legume harvests in the south. Since the start of seasonal rainfall was delayed by approximately one month, maize and legume harvests in the south began in April, putting an end to the lean season one month later than usual. Although remote-sensing products suggest that rainfall has been above average across much of Madagascar, including the south, field reports indicate that rainfall has been poorly distributed across time and space, resulting in well below-average crop production in some areas.

    On a national level, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock estimates staple food production will be below the five-year average by 9 percent for rice, 11 percent for maize, and 13 percent for cassava, although imports will likely fill in any gaps in rice needs and helping to maintain stable prices. In northern and central areas, rice production is expected to be below average in some regions (significantly so in the cases of Sofia, Boeny, and Atsimo Antsinanana), but a variety of food sources (such as fishing), and additional cash crops and labor opportunities suggest the impact on food and income sources for poor households will be more limited than in other areas. Crop production losses are likely to lead to acute food insecurity in the south including Menabe, Ihorombe, Atsimo Andrefana, and Androy Regions, although the last two are the areas of greatest concern.

    Southern districts of concern in Atsimo Andrefana and Androy Regions (Livelihood Zones 23, 24, and parts of 22)

    Following a harsher and longer-than-usual lean season during which many households engaged in negative coping strategies indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes, the start of maize harvests is providing improved access to own-produced food putting an end to the lean season. Although the Observatoire du Riz has halted collection of price data since January 2015 due to a lack of funding, some limited anecdotal evidence has suggested that prices of staple foods such as maize have decreased on some markets, while some rice price increases have also been reported. During this time, the sale of agricultural labor, livestock, and charcoal are providing income for poor households. Cassava harvests are also providing increased food availability, particularly in southwestern areas. As a result, most households are currently in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity.

    Due to estimates of well below-average production for maize, households will likely exhaust maize stocks by June. In areas of Atsimo Andrefana where maize losses may be more extreme, harvests of cassava and sweet potatoes, supplemented by market purchases of rice, will provide adequate access to food through at least June. The early exhaustion of household stocks in these areas, coupled with below-average maize production in neighboring areas, will likely lead to earlier and higher-than-normal price increases for maize. Cassava harvests, typically starting in August in most areas, will provide some increased access to staple foods, but these harvests are also estimated to 35-60 percent below normal in Atsimo Andrefana and Androy. Should harvests of cassava be needed to supplement household food consumption between April and June, these below-average cassava harvests will be depleted earlier than normal, and households will be forced to access staple foods at above-average prices. These prices, coupled with lower-than-usual livestock holdings, the repayment of loans incurred during the lean season, and anticipation of expenses such as school fees will likely limit households’ ability to meet their livelihoods protection needs. Between July and September 2015, poor households in these areas are expected to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity. Beyond this outlook period, further reliance on market purchases and reduced coping capacity resulting from the previous lean season increases the likelihood of more severe outcomes later in the consumption year.   

    Figures Calendrier saisonnier pour une année typique

    Figure 1

    Calendrier saisonnier pour une année typique

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 2


    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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