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High staple food prices and above-average debt levels to result in Stressed acute food insecurity by October

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Madagascar
  • July 2014
High staple food prices and above-average debt levels to result in Stressed acute food insecurity by October

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • With good national rice harvests estimated and the March/April maize/legume harvest in the South, acute food insecurity in Madagascar will remain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) through at least September 2014.
    • In areas of the south and southwest that faced multiple shocks in 2013, high prices and above-average debt levels are likely to lead to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity starting in October.
    • A normal start to cropping activities and average 2014/2015 rainfall is currently expected in October/November.

    Zone

    Current Anomalies

    Projected Anomalies

    Southern Madagascar (Amboasary, Toliara)

    Dried cassava prices 25-68 percent higher than the previous year.

    Dried cassava prices to remain significantly above the previous year and two-year averages.

     

    The key areas of concern in Madagascar remain select districts in Atsimo Andrefana and Androy Regions of the south and southwest, including Ampanihy, Betiocky, Tsihombe, Beloha, and Bekily, due to the longer-term effects of negative strategies, such as higher-than-usual borrowing, employed to cope with the multiple shocks that occurred over the course of 2013.

    Treatment efforts for the first year of FAO/Ministry of Agriculture’s anti-locust campaign have largely ended, as no locusts breeding will occur during the dry July-September winter period. Monitoring and possible spot treatments may be carried out from one aerial base that will remain open. Evaluation and crop assessment missions have been undertaken in July, with reports expected to be published soon. The three-year campaign is currently two-thirds funded, and the second year of treatment is expected to begin in October 2014.

    Forecasts suggest an 80 percent likelihood for an El Niño to develop by September and last through at least December. Historical rainfall information provides no clear indication of the impact of El Niño events in Madagascar. Based on IRI forecasts, FEWS NET assumes rainfall will be near average island- wide.

    Districts of concern in Atsimo Andrefana and Androy Regions

    Prices for dry cassava, a key staple in these areas, are falling from their May peak but remain as much as 25-68 percent above last year as a result of both dryness and Cyclone Haruna-related losses in 2013. These price decreases are possibly due to reduced demand with the harvests of fresh, early-planted cassava and due to substitution of cheaper maize. However, dried cassava prices are expected to remain significantly above last year’s prices through August.

    Taking into account the March-May maize/legume harvest that normally marks the end of the lean season in the South, and lower prices of these substitutes compared to cassava, most households in the southern areas of concern are able to satisfy their basic food and non-food needs, and are currently facing Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity, which will be maintained through September.

    However, as many poor households borrowed more than usual during the lean season, these households will be required to pay back loans with the beginning of the cassava harvest, this year shortly before other expenses such as school fees must also be paid. Moreover, it is likely that households will face seasonal price increases for maize and a continuation of high prices for cassava through August. Together, these factors could contribute to a start to the lean season two months earlier than usual, and poor households may face livelihood protection deficits and Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity from October to December 2014. 

    Figures Calendrier saisonnier pour une année typique

    Figure 1

    Calendrier saisonnier pour une année typique

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 2

    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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