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Crisis (IPC Phase 3) to continue through March 2016 in southern districts

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Madagascar
  • November 2015
Crisis (IPC Phase 3) to continue through March 2016 in southern districts

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through March 2016
  • Key Messages
    • In mid-November, FEWS NET conducted a rapid food security assessment in the areas of greatest concern for acute food insecurity, including Tshiombe, Ambovombe, and Amboasary districts in the southern regions of Androy and Anosy.

    • During this assessment, FEWS NET found that following very poor 2014/15 staple food production in the south, prices for staple foods such as maize and cassava in key southern markets are approximately 70 to 90 percent higher than the five-year average, and poor, market-dependent households are engaging in negative coping strategies in order to meet their minimum food needs. 

    • Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity is likely to continue through March 2016 in the southern districts of Tsihombe, Bekily, Ambovombe, Beloha, Amboasary, Ampanihy, and Betiocky-Atsimo. The impacts of El Niño are likely to result in average to below-average rainfall in these areas, but in the most-likely scenario even below-average harvests should provide some improvement in food availability starting after March 2016. 


    Current Anomalies

    Projected Anomalies

    South and South-West


    Very high staple food prices and early exhaustion of food stocks are reducing poor households’ access to staple foods.

    Households are likely to continue engaging in negative coping strategies such as abnormal labor migration and early consumption of wild foods in order to meet food needs through March 2016.  

    Projected Outlook through March 2016


    Most areas of Madagascar are expected to continue facing Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity through the end of the lean season in March/April 2016. However, significant 2014/15 crop production losses in the south (Androy, Atsimo Andrefana, and Anosy) are leading to an earlier than usual lean season, where Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are likely to continue in some districts from now through the end of the lean season in March.

    Across most of northern and central Madagascar, the rainy season started 10-20 days earlier than normal in October, with planting usually occurring between November and December. In most of the southern-third of Madagascar, rainfall has to-date has been near to above average, but the season has not yet begun in southern and western coastal areas, as is usual. Climate forecasts suggest a very high likelihood the ongoing El Niño will continue through at least March 2015, which is generally associated with below-average rainfall in southern Madagascar. NMME, ECMWF, and SARCOF seasonal forecasts also indicate an increased likelihood that rainfall will be average to below-average in southern Madagascar, and near average in central and northern Madagascar.

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

    Following 2014/15 harvests of maize and cassava that were significantly below average in Androy, Atsimo Andrefana, and Ansoy Regions, staple food stocks (maize and cassava) have been exhausted several months earlier than usual, forcing households to purchase food on markets for much longer than normal. In mid-November 2015, FEWS NET conducted a rapid food security assessment in three districts of greatest concern, including Tsihombe, Ambovombe, and Amboasary. Information collected during this assessment suggests staple food prices are 70 to 90 percent higher than the five-year average in Ambovombe and Tsihombe districts.

    FEWS NET’s assessment also found that although poor households typically increase wood collection and the sale of small animals during the peak of the lean season in order to increase food access, these activities have reportedly peaked in November, two months earlier than usual. Many poor households are engaging in coping strategies earlier or more intensely than normal, including the consumption of cactus leaves and unripened cactus fruit, which could reduce poor households’ ability to rely on cactus fruit during the peak of the lean season, when it is commonly consumed to supplement diets. Some labor migration is also occurring and should this practice become widespread, it could reduce area planted in crops and limit the duration of improvements in food security expected as harvests begin in March/April.

    Staple food prices are expected to continue increasing through the peak of the lean season in January and February. After this period, harvests of short-cycle cash- and staple-crops (watermelons, sweet potatoes) will provide income and labor opportunities to households in Amboasary, Betioky, parts of Ampanihy and Ambovombe. However, in all remaining areas of concern, with normal to below-normal rainfalls forecasted in the extreme south of the country, and where these short-cycle crops cannot be farmed, households without access to humanitarian assistance will likely continue to engage in asset stripping and other negative coping in order to try to meet minimum food needs.

    In addition to inter-annual assistance programs, such as school feeding, USAID and partners have funded a Food for Assets program from November through February 2016, seeking to provide 4,700 MT of food assistance to 160,000 people in five districts of greatest concern, including Tsihombe, Bekily, Ambovombe, Beloha, and Amboasary. This assistance will likely improve household food security outcomes for beneficiaries. Provision of agricultural supplies and toolkits, nutrition supplements for pregnant and lactating women, and small livestock and training on small livestock husbandry are also planned.

    Due to the early exhaustion of food stocks, limited labor opportunities, and much higher than normal staple food prices, poor households in the areas of concern will continue to face difficulties meeting their minimum food needs. Between November and March 2016, the districts of Tsihombe, Bekily, Ambovombe, Beloha, Amboasary, Ampanihy, and Betiocky-Atsimo will likely remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). During the peak of the lean season in January and February, it is likely that Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes will be possible for some poor households, but the number of households concerned is not likely to reach the 20 percent threshold required for classification at the area level, and continued provision of humanitarian assistance should prevent these outcomes among the worst-off households. 

    Beyond March, FEWS NET’s most-likely scenario is that harvests starting in March and April, even if below average, should begin to improve food access for poor households and prevent a deterioration to Emergency (IPC Phase 4). However, below-average production during the 2015/16 season could lead to an early exhaustion of stocks and above-average staple food prices later in the 2016/17 consumption year.

    Figures Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar in 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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