Food Security Outlook

Crop failure will drive Emergency (IPC Phase 4) food insecurity in the South until next harvests

October 2016 to May 2017

October 2016 - January 2017

Madagascar October 2016 Food Security Projections for October to January

February - May 2017

Madagascar October 2016 Food Security Projections for February to May

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

Presence countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Remote monitoring
countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

Key Messages

  • High levels of acute food insecurity will persist in southern Madagascar through the end of the lean season in February 2017 due to crop failures caused by this year’s drought. In the absence of assistance, poor households residing in worst-affected areas are expected to face large food consumption gaps, in line with Emergency (IPC Phase 4) food insecurity. Increased acute malnutrition and excess mortality are also likely. Stressed (IPC Phase 2 and 2!) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3 and 3!) outcomes are expected in other southern areas.

  • Although 2017 crop production will likely be below average in the South, food security outcomes are expected to improve following the harvest of pulses in March 2017 and the harvest of maize in April 2017. Between May and June, most households will experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes with the exception of zones where households have depleted most of their productive assets. In these areas, the recovery will be slower and Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected during next year’s harvest period. 

  • Outside of the South, households in most parts of Madagascar will continue to have seasonally normal access to food due to average income levels, crops from their own production, and regular market supplies from local harvests and rice imports. As a result, most other areas will experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity between October 2016 and May 2017.

NATIONAL OVERVIEW

Current Situation

Seasonal progress

  • Cropped areas: Madagascar has many different agricultural seasons, depending on the crop, location and irrigation infrastructure available. Rice, as usual, is currently reaching maturity in the extreme North, the agropastoral Mid-West, Ankaratra and the central highlands and is being harvested in the Southeastern forest corridor. Maize and cassava are reaching maturity in the area of Tamatave, the southern highlands and the West. In most northern and central areas of the country, including Haute Matsiatra, Alaotra Mangoro, Analamanga, Itasy, Vakinankaratra and Bongolava, key informants indicate that the area planted during the past four months is similar to last year’s levels. However, in the South, particularly in the Extreme south: cassava, maize, and livestock rearing livelihood zone (MG 24), observations from partners suggest that land preparations are covering a smaller than normal area. This is due to a lack of seeds and other inputs as a result of farmers’ limited capacity to invest in inputs following two consecutive below-average harvests.
  • Export cash crops: Vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, pepper and essential oils account for a large share of Madagascar’s export value and are currently selling at high prices on international markets. For example, the price of vanilla, for which Madagascar is the world’s leading producer, is rising. After the period from August to December 2015, during which farm gate vanilla prices rose 200 percent, they now are at 40,000 Ar/Kg which is about 5 percent above last year’s levels. These high prices are helping to provide favorable incomes for the roughly 200,000 people employed in Madagascar’s vanilla sector. Export cash crops are harvested during the months of October and November in the North-East and along the eastern coast. Other cash crops, including pulses, litchi, sugarcane, and khat, are also currently being harvested with normal production levels expected.
  • Crop production: Since Madagascar doesn’t have a single agricultural season, large markets enjoy an almost continuous supply of domestic food products. However, while better than last year, 2016 staple food production did not perform particularly well. More specifically, the recent CFSAM estimated that national rice production, a key cereal crop in Madagascar, was slightly below the five-year average. Cassava and maize production were also estimated to be down by 16 percent and nearly 50 percent, respectively. Maize, which is farmed mostly in the Central and Southern parts of the country, experienced particularly poor production levels in the regions of Anosy, Androy and Atsimo Andrefana where it was about a tenth of the five-year average. In these zones, rice production was also estimated to be about one third of the five-year average. The main drivers of this low production was drought in the South and reduced area cropped in Ihorombe, Sofia and Menabe due to 1) flooding at the beginning of 2016 and 2) structural issues that have decreased the attractiveness of farming in these areas.
  • Livestock: According to the 2016 CFSAM, pastures in most areas of the country are abundant and of good quality. As a result, livestock are also in good conditions. However, Madagascar has seen a declining trend in its total herd size due to civil insecurity and forest fires with the cattle population passed from 9.7 million in 2005 to 6.5 million this year, according to Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, as quoted by the CFSAM report. In the South, herd sizes have also diminished over the past four years due to stressed sales caused by food insecurity. 

 Markets and trade

  • Rice imports: Imported rice is an important staple food for many households in Madagascar. Observatoire du Riz (OdR) stopped reporting on import levels in April 2015 but local observations suggest that imports are currently at below-average levels due to the depreciation of the Malagasy Ariary in recent years and, as the CFSAM suggests, reduced domestic demand as poor households increasing their consumption of cheaper staples such as maize and cassava. The September price of imported rice is currently above the 2011-2014 average at most markets (ex. +23 percent in Mananjary and +20 percent in Toamasina). An exception, however, is Antsiranana where imported rice prices are down 15 percent compared to average. 
  • Prices for locally grown food products: Rice, maize and cassava prices usually peak in December and January during the height of the normal lean season. At markets monitored by FEWS NET using OdR price data, gasy rice prices at large markets have increased above the 2011-2014 average (currently +17 percent in Antananarivo, +5 percent in Fiananarantsoa and +19 percent in Ihosy). Additionally, the recent CFSAM report, using data from INSTAT, reports a price increase of 5.5 percent at key markets between August 2015 and August 2016. Rice prices are particularly high compared to past years in the southern regions due to an early start of the lean season. In Ambovombe, for example, the price of gasy rice is 32 percent higher than the 2011-2014 average. The most commonly consumed staple foods in the South, maize and cassava, have also experienced price increases. For example, September maize prices at Ambovombe were 83 percent above the four-year average while cassava prices were up 79 percent.

Other key factors

  • Humanitarian assistance: Food assistance to drought-affected areas of the South is currently being provided by WFP, ADRA and CRS in the districts of Bekily, Ampanihy, Tsihombe, Beloha, Ambovombe, and Amboasary. From June to September, the overall food distribution caseload receiving half rations increased from about 220,000 to about 400,000 beneficiaries, including recipients of cash distributions which increased from about 37,000 (July and August) to 80,000 in September. Food distributions by ADRA to approximately 10,000 beneficiary households in Bekily and Ampanihy and food distribution by CRS to 13,715 beneficiaries in Beloha and 20,050 beneficiaries in Tsihombe were factored into FEWS NET’s humanitarian assistance analysis. Based on this analysis, FEWS NET estimates that CRS’s and ADRA’s humanitarian assistance is likely playing an important role in preventing more severe food insecurity, in line with a higher IPC area classification, in Tsihombe and parts of Bekily district located in Extreme south: cassava, maize, and livestock rearing livelihood zone (MG 24).

Assumptions

The most likely scenario for the October 2016 to May 2017 period is based on the following national level assumptions:

  • Rainfall: Seasonal forecasts suggest that in the eastern and southern parts of the country, there will be a slight delay in the onset of the rainy season with normal to below-normal rainfall until December but not to a magnitude that would affect crop development. In the rest of the country (ex. Menabe, Boeny, Melaky, Betsiboka and Bongolava), forecasts indicate normal to above-normal rainfall during this time period. Normal rainfall levels are expected from January to March 2017, which should allow for the normal completion of the agricultural campaign.
  • Crop production: Due to both a normal rainy season and cropped area, annual 2016/17 rice and maize crop production, harvested between December and May, will be average at the national level. However, cassava production, usually harvested between March and September 2017 outside of the North, will be below normal given the difficulties of trading and propagating planting material to fill local shortages, especially in southern areas which usually accounts for 35 percent of national production.
  • Income and labor: In most of the country, agricultural labor and wages will likely be near average. However, in areas affected by last year’s drought, income levels and labor opportunities for agricultural work (ex. land preparation, weeding and harvesting) are assumed to be below average due to the reduced area cropped. Outside of the South, incomes from agricultural labor in cash crop plantations, tourism, fishing and handcraft sectors will also remain similar to last year’s levels.
  • Export cash crops: According to specialized commodities trading projections (AgraNet, BusinessWire and AusHachmann Canada), the outlook for the vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, pepper and essential oils sectors are positive, due to expectations for continued high international prices. For example, the farm gate price of vanilla will likely remain at 40,000 Ar/Kg, or about 5 percent above last year’s levels. In the drought-affected areas of the South, income from cash crops such as watermelons, cowpeas and black-eyed peas that - depending on location - are harvested from February to May and are expected to be normal, like in other parts of the country, given that these crops are usually farmed on smaller plots and by better-off households.
  • Security context: FEWS NET assumes that activities by well-armed dahalo groups will not disrupt trade flows between cities on the high plains and the Baro Plateau in the South.
  • Macroeconomic context and imports: The value of the Malagasy Ariary is expected to remain stable at around 3,200 MSA/USD to 3,238 MSA/USD through the outlook period, according to Trading Economics global macro models and analysts’ expectations. As a result, imports of rice are expected to remain at status quo levels.
  • Staple prices: Due to expected below-average crop production, maize, gasy rice, and imported rice prices will remain above the 2011-2014 average throughout the scenario period at most markets. Food prices typically peak between approximately December and February during the height of the lean season, and will then generally fall during the harvest period as demand falls and supplies improve on local markets.
  • Humanitarian assistance: CRS will supply food to 13,715 beneficiaries in Beloha and 20,050 beneficiaries in Tsihombe per month during the next six months, reaching approximately 12 and 17 percent of the Beloha’s and Tsihombe’s populations, respectively. In addition, monthly food distributions by ADRA will reach approximately 10,000 beneficiary households in Bekily and Ampanihy during the next six months.

Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

  • Households in most parts of Madagascar will continue to have relatively normal access to food due to normal income levels, crops from own production and regular market supplies from 2016 harvests and rice imports. As a result, these areas will continue to experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity between October 2016 and May 2017.
  • In the Extreme south: cassava, maize, and livestock rearing livelihood zone (MG 24), food insecurity is expected to be elevated due to the impacts of several consecutive years of below-average production on food and incomes sources. To cope, atypical migration, livestock sales, and the consumption of sour cactus pear will continue through the end of the lean season in February 2017. However, despite these efforts, households will still be unable to meet basic food consumption requirements, and are expected to face large food consumption gap, in line with Emergency (IPC Phase 4), until the harvest of pulses in March 2017 and the harvest of maize in April 2017.  Due to food assistance distribution in the next six months that will help to offset food deficits, Tsihombe district will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3!) while Bekily district will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2!). Although production will likely be below average, food security outcomes are expected to improve for most between April and May. However, the recovery process will be slowed by below-normal staple food production and agricultural incomes and assets (ex. livestock) that were depleted during the particularly difficult lean season. As a result, despite the harvest period, most households in this livelihood zone will experience Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security outcomes.
  • Outside of the Extreme south: cassava, maize, and livestock rearing livelihood zone (MG 24), in the parts of the districts of Ampanihy, Amboasary, and Betioky, the effects of this year’s drought was slightly less severe but is still contributing to elevated levels of food insecurity. More specifically, the early exhaustion of household food stocks, the reduction of livestock herds, and high prices of cassava and maize on local markets will contribute to atypically poor dietary diversity and food consumption gaps, in line with Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity from November 2016 until cassava and maize crops can be harvested in April 2017. After April and through the remainder of the Outlook period to May, food consumption will normalize and households will return to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity. 

For more information on the outlook for specific areas of concern, please click the download button at the top of the page for the full report.

About Scenario Development

To project food security outcomes, FEWS NET develops a set of assumptions about likely events, their effects, and the probable responses of various actors. FEWS NET analyzes these assumptions in the context of current conditions and local livelihoods to arrive at a most likely scenario for the coming eight months. Learn more here.

About FEWS NET

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity. Created by USAID in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises, FEWS NET provides evidence-based analysis on approximately 30 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, USGS, and CHC-UCSB, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica.
Learn more About Us.

Link to United States Agency for International Development (USAID)Link to the United States Geological Survey's (USGS) FEWS NET Data PortalLink to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Link to National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Earth ObservatoryLink to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service, Climage Prediction CenterLink to the Climate Hazards Center - UC Santa BarbaraLink to KimetricaLink to Chemonics