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Well below-average harvests and high staple food prices are resulting in Crisis (IPC Phase 3)

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Madagascar
  • October 2015
Well below-average harvests and high staple food prices are resulting in Crisis (IPC Phase 3)

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected Outlook through March 2016
  • Key Messages
    • In Androy, Atsimo Andrefana and parts of Anosy Regions, staple food production was significantly below average for the third consecutive year. Given the early exhaustion of main food stocks, limited labor opportunities, and well above-average staple food prices, poor households in several districts will face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) from November through at least March 2016. 

    • Due to the increasing pressure on livelihoods and the unavailability of income opportunities, poor households in in Tsihombe and Bekily are already in Crisis (IPC Phase 3), which will likely continue through March 2016. 

    • The high likelihood for the ongoing El Nino to continue through the end of the rainy season is likely to result in average to below-average rainfall over southern Madagascar, reducing crop production and associated agricultural labor opportunities. 


    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. National production of rice, maize, and cassava from 2014/15 has been estimated at about 8-14 percent below average, with imports still contributing an important share of national rice availability. However, significant 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 October through the end of the lean season.

    With the 2015/16 agricultural season in its early stages, the high likelihood of a continued El Nino through the end of the rainy season is likely to result in average rainfall across the northern two-thirds of Madagascar. In southern Madagascar, El Nino is generally associated with average to below-average rainfall (Figure 1), which could impact agricultural activities.

    Concerning the Migratory Locust plague in southern, central and western Madagascar prevalent since 2012, agro-ecological conditions are improving for the locust reproduction. Locust hatching is expected in October in parts of the invasion area (Antsirabe, Befato and Mandoto), while in parts of the outbreak area (Zomandao lowlands and Horombe plateau) it has already started and hopper development is in progress. The third joint FAO-Government emergency anti-locust campaign to combat the locust plague has started with surveys and ground control operations.

    Areas of concern in Atsimo Andrefana, Androy, and Anosy 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 are being exhausted several months earlier than usual. The early exhaustion of maize stocks has led poor households to harvest cassava earlier than usual, reducing the size of tubers at a time when cassava harvests were already expected to be below average.

    Price information collected during a FEWS NET rapid field assessment in October suggests that maize prices are currently above average by as much as 40 percent in Amboasary and Ambovombe, while maize prices may be even higher in the southern district of Tsihombe. Cassava prices in these markets are also well above the five-year average. On these markets, it is likely that prices will remain above average and continue to increase before peaking in January/February 2016. The price of rice is close to five-year average in those districts, but it typically more expensive and therefore less accessible to poor households.

    Poor households are relying on income from land preparation, though this is reportedly below average, as well as wood collection and the sale of small animals. However, given very high staple food prices, poor households are also turning to earlier than usual consumption of wild foods, in some cases unripened, in order to try to meet food needs. In addition to indicating atypical coping, this may also reduce poor households’ ability to access wild foods later during the peak of the lean season. Moreover, the high likelihood for the El Nino to continue through the 2015/16 rainy season is likely to result in average to below-average rainfall, which may reduce crop production and agricultural labor opportunities. Coping strategies, after the third consecutive below-normal harvest and little opportunities to rebuild livestock, are expected to be less available to poor households.

    Given the early exhaustion of main food stocks, the limited opportunities offered by hiring out labor to poor households and the higher than normal food prices, households in the areas of concern will face difficulties to meet their minimum staple food needs. At least 20 percent of households in Tsihombe and Bekily are currently in Crisis (IPC Phase 3), while other parts of livelihood zones 22, 23, and 24 are currently Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and likely to deteriorate to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) from November through at least March 2016. 

    Figures Calendrier saisonnier pour une année typique

    Figure 1

    Calendrier saisonnier pour une année typique

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 3

    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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