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Food insecurity in areas hit by multiple shocks

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Madagascar
  • November 2013
Food insecurity in areas hit by multiple shocks

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected outlook through March 2014
  • Key Messages
    • Imported rice is becoming a dietary staple two months into of the lean season after the shortfall in harvests of local rice, grain, pulses, and cassava during the main 2012/13 growing season.

    • The installation and outfitting of two ground bases (in Tsiroanomandidy and Ihosy) and insecticide treatment efforts for the control of locusts in the larval stage officially got underway on October 31st of this year, led by the FAO, as part of a three-year locust control program. These measures are specifically designed to protect the start of the main 2014 growing season.

    • At-risk populations in coastal areas of the far south have limited access to staple food crops (rice and maize) after the poor distribution of rainfall for the main 2012/13 growing season and the shortfall in September harvests of cassava crops in the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Haruna.

    NationalStaple food prices are becoming unaffordable compared with consumer purchasing power. Prices are up 10% from last year, and up 5% compared to the five-year average.

    Prices for locally grown rice, as well as for imported rice and other staple foods, will steadily rise between December and February.

    Midwestern, central-western, and southwestern areas (livelihood zones 10 and 21t)

    Swarms of larval stage locusts have been reported in these areas, but are being contained by the locust control campaign run by FAO and the Ministry of Agriculture.

    With the expected expansion in egg-hatching areas, two-thirds of the country could still be infested by larval-stage locusts between January and March of next year, destroying crops for the main 2013/2014 growing season.


    Projected outlook through March 2014

    Stocks of staple foods (rice, maize, cassava, and pulses) are limited. Prices are above the five-year average and will continue to rise through January-February despite the beginning of harvests of the first rice-growing season in December. Average prices are high compared with figures for the same time last year. The price differentials for locally grown and imported rice are 10 percent and five percent, respectively.

    In general, medium-term rainfall outlooks for the period from November through February (ECMWF, IRI, SARCOF 17) are calling for average levels of rainfall in all parts of the island with the exception of a small area in the far south, where rainfall levels are expected to be 100 to 200 mm below normal. The country is also starting to make preparations for the cyclone season beginning in December of this year. According to forecasts by the National Weather Service, Madagascar will be struck by two tropical cyclones between January and March of next year.

    Even with the launching of the campaign against larval stage locusts in the wake of egg hatchings in vulnerable areas of the mid-west, the south, and the southwest, the situation remains critical, with two thirds of the country still threatened by locust infestations, whose containment will require a significant effort. The FAO has set up two ground bases (in Ihosy, covering the south, and in Tsiroanomandidy, covering the west and the northwest) and deployed sufficient physical and human resources to control crop infestations by locust larvae, which could still reduce the size of the harvest for the main growing season in May-June of next year by 20 percent.

    Based on follow-up visits to primary health care centers (CSB II) in the south and, in particular, on the southern coast, and the number of registered children subject to growth monitoring, the chronic malnutrition rate among children under five years of age will stay as high as 50.1 percent through February of next year, when the first harvests of grain crops and pulses for the main growing season get underway. Some 300,000 people in the far southern reaches of the country and on the southern coast (livelihood zones MG23 and MG24) are in need of livelihood recovery assistance.

    The political situation in Madagascar is beginning to stabilize. The first round of the presidential elections was held on October 25th. Following publication of the official election results on November 22nd, a second-round run-off election will be held in conjunction with the parliamentary elections on December 20th of this year. The civil security situation is still unstable, disrupting the flow of food to food-insecure areas and fueling the rise in prices.

    In spite of numerous signs of major anomalies in staple food availability (rice, maize, and cassava), in general, there is still no indication of the implementation of any coping strategies or emergency measures anywhere in the country, which is consistent with Minimal levels of food insecurity (IPC Phase 1). However, food security conditions in parts of the far south and southwest remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2). Though an emergency assistance program could be mounted (consisting of food-for-work or cash-for-work activities by humanitarian organizations or based on the supplementary feeding approach), a large proportion of poor households will give priority to meeting their food consumption needs to the detriment of their basic livelihood protection needs between November and December. According to the outlook for the far southern and southwestern reaches of the country, food insecurity in these areas will remain at Crisis levels (IPC Phase 3) between January and March of next year.

    Figures Seasonal calendar for a typical year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal calendar for a typical year

    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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