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Maize harvest in the South to reduce food insecurity through at least September

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Madagascar
  • May 2014
Maize harvest in the South to reduce food insecurity through at least September

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected outlook through September 2013
  • Key Messages
    • The April/May maize and legume harvest in southern Madagascar improved staple food availability and demand for unskilled labor in key areas of concern.
    • With the southern areas of the country seeing an end to their lean season in April/May, food security for poor households has improved to Minimal (IPC Phase 1), and will remain there through at least September.


    Current anomalies

    Projected anomalies

    Southern Madagascar   (Amboasary, Tulear)

    Dried cassava prices 75-228 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 2013

    The key areas of concern in Madagascar remain select districts in the Atsimo Andrefana and Androy regions of the south and southwest, including Ampanihy, Betiocky, Tsihombe, Beloha, and Bekily due to multiple shocks over the course of 2013. With an end to the annual lean season in March, and assuming near-average harvests of maize and legumes during March-May 2014, availability of and access to staple foods has improved in these areas. Cassava consumption, usually the primary staple in this region, is low due to extremely high prices (as much as 75-228 percent above last year) as a result of both dryness and Cyclone Haruna-related losses in 2013. Cassava levels are lowest in Amboasary.  The supply of cassava is likely to remain limited until the August harvest, and prices will remain high until the cassava harvest hits the market in September 2014. In the rest of the country, the ongoing main rice harvest is expected to continue through June, and local and imported rice prices were at or slightly below their prior-year levels in April, maintaining stable access for poor households to the preferred staple food.

    If locust control operations were insufficient to support an average maize harvest to last most poor households through August, poor households in the key areas of concern may return to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity between the exhaustion of maize stocks and the start of the cassava harvest in September. Locust treatment efforts continued in May, with FAO having treated approximately 1.1 million hectares of land since the beginning of treatment in November 2013, part of which has been directed at areas of the southwest from a base in Toliara. FEWS NET analysis continues to be based on the assumption that improved overall rainfall this season and the presence of control efforts this year will result in better crop production than in 2013.

    Taking into account the recent 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 key areas of the 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 onset of the new cassava harvest in September, at a time when 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 the extremely high prices for cassava through August. Together, these factors could contribute to an early start to the lean season, and poor households may face livelihood protection deficits and Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity later in the year.  

    Figures Seasonal calendar in a typical year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal calendar in a typical year


    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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