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

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Madagascar
  • May 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 southern areas of concern is estimated to be well below average for the second consecutive year. An early exhaustion of 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.

    Zone

    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

    Since the start of seasonal rainfall was delayed by approximately 30-40 days, maize and legume harvests in the south began in April, ending a longer-than-usual lean season. Although remote-sensing products suggest that rainfall was above average across much of Madagascar, including the south, field reports indicate that a late onset and poor distribution of rainfall, as well as reduced access to seeds, in the south caused reductions in area planted and below-average crop production in some areas.

    The main staple food crops are being harvested and 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 help to maintain stable prices. 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 suggestive of Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes, the start of rice and maize harvests starting in April improved staple food access for poor households, putting an end to the lean season. As a result, most households are currently in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity. During this time, the sale of agricultural labor, livestock, and charcoal are providing income for poor households. In July and August, depending by the zone, cassava should also be harvested, improving households’ food supply. There are, however, differences depending on the livelihood zone.

    An improvement of food security conditions is evident in Amboasary (southern part of Livelihood Zone 22 in Anosy Region), where maize production is expected to be normal to above normal, and the cassava harvest is expected to be average. According to local sources, maize prices have decreased from their seasonal peak, despite remaining as much as 35 percent above the five-year average. In other areas, food crop harvests are expected to be well below normal, particularly maize in Bekily and Tsihombe and cassava in Ampanihy and Betioky. Because rice and maize are being currently harvested, local partners report that their prices are decreasing from the peaks of the previous months, but are still much higher than what is considered normal in this season, particularly in Tsihombe. With the rice and maize harvests, households would now begin re-building their livestock, in a normal year. However, sources report that some households continue to sell livestock at below-average prices.  

    With the exception of Amboasary, the lean season is likely to begin earlier than usual, because even if most households are currently in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity, they will exhaust food stocks earlier than usual. Furthermore, cassava harvests will also 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. Starting from September in livelihood 22 and from November in livelihood 23, poor households, 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 Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    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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