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Stressed food insecurity to start in October due to above-average food prices, debt

  • Remote Monitoring Report
  • Madagascar
  • September 2014
Stressed food insecurity to start in October due to above-average food prices, debt

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  • Key Messages
  • Projected outlook through December 2014
  • Key Messages
    • Average national rice production is expected this season along with an average March/April 2014 maize/legume harvest in the south. As a result, acute food insecurity is expected to remain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) through at least September.

    • In areas of the south and southwest that faced multiple shocks in 2013, high prices and above-average debt levels are likely to lead to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity among poor households starting in October. 

    • Forecasts for normal to below-normal rainfall in central and northern Madagascar between October and December 2014 during the start of the rainy season may affect local production and associated labor activities.

    ZONE

    CURRENT ANOMALIES

    PROJECTED ANOMALIES

    Southern Madagascar (Amboasary, Toliara)

    Dried cassava prices are to 67 percent higher than the previous two-year average.

    Dried cassava prices to remain significantly above the two-year average, limiting household access to the preferred staple.


    Projected outlook through December 2014

    The key areas of concern in Madagascar remain select districts in Atsimo Andrefana, and Androy Regions of the south and southwest, including Ampanihy, Betiocky, Tsihombe, Beloha, and Bekily, due to the longer-term effects of negative strategies, such as higher-than-usual borrowing, employed to cope with the multiple shocks (abnormal dryness, Cyclone Haruna, and locust infestations) that occurred over the course of 2013.

    Treatment efforts for the first year of FAO/Ministry of Agriculture’s anti-locust campaign largely ended in July, meeting first-year treatment objectives. The three-year campaign is currently two-thirds funded, and the second year of treatment is expected to begin in October 2014.

    Forecasts suggest approximately a 60 percent likelihood for an El Niño to develop by September and last through at least December. However, historical rainfall information provides no clear indication of the impact of El Niño events in Madagascar. Based on recently released SARCOF forecasts, FEWS NET assumes rainfall for northern and central Madagascar will be normal to below-normal between October and December 2014 during the start of the rainy season. Given the high rainfall totals typical for these areas, FEWS NET assumes total rainfall will be sufficient to support cropping activities, though the timing and distribution of rains could affect local production and associated labor opportunities. Normal to above-normal rainfall is expected to support normal cropping activities in southern Madagascar.

    Districts of concern in Atsimo Andrefana and Androy Regions

    With increased food availability from recent cassava harvests, as well as the March-May maize/legume harvest that normally marks the end of the lean season in the South, most households in the southern areas of concern are able to satisfy their basic food and non-food needs, and are currently facing Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity.

    However, as many poor households borrowed more than usual during the lean season, these households are expected to have started paying back loans with the beginning of the cassava harvest in August, prior to paying other expenses such as school fees. Prices for dried cassava, a key staple in these areas, have continued to fall from their May 2014 peak to near their prior-year levels, but remain above their two-year averages by as much as 67 percent in key southern markets. Moreover, households are facing seasonal price increases for maize (for instance, a 15 percent increase in Ambaosary between July and August 2014). Together, these factors could contribute to a start to the lean season two months earlier than usual, and poor households may face livelihood protection deficits and Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity from October to December 2014.

    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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