Atypically severe lean season expected starting from October in southern Madagascar
A near-normal main rice harvest wrapped up in July in most surplus producing areas. The cassava harvest is still ongoing in southern Madagascar. Average production of the crop, around 85,000 MT, was observed in southwestern areas, above-average production of 100,000 MT in the coastal extreme south, and below-average production of 75,000 MT in middle south communes due to the drought.
In monitored urban markets, staple prices are above the five-year average and last year prices due to below-average stocks, driven by movement and transport restrictions. Compared to July 2020, most staple food prices remained stable or decreased because of the relative improvement of supply with the main harvest.
Newly confirmed COVID-19 cases slowed in early August and increased by four percent per week in mid-August compared to 27 percent in July.
Restrictions have been lifted in Antananarivo and in Toamasina allowing for increased engagement in income-earning activities from 4:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Intracity public transportation is still banned in Antananarivo as is the inter-regional movement of people, limiting migratory labor.
Most humanitarian food assistance ended in July. Information is not yet available on assistance plans during the lean season, and as a result assistance has not been incorporated into FEWS NET’s projection analysis.
Historical trends do, however, show the resumption of assistance in the south is likely to start in September. Emergency responses to COVID-19 are continuing in early August with large food distributions by the government in Antananarivo, Fianarantsoa, and Tulear targeting around 25 percent of population and covering 75 percent of their needs.
Between October 2020 and January 2021, area-level food security outcomes in the cassava, maize, and livestock rearing livelihood zone (MG 24) and in the cassava and small ruminants (MG 23) livelihood zone will likely deteriorate to Crisis (IPC Phase 3). In the previously locked-down cities, Antananarivo, Toamasina, and Fianarantsoa, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are likely as income-earning opportunities gradually improve. Elsewhere, Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity is expected, though some poor households who depend on tourism and producers who are affected by low farm-gate prices will likely be Stressed (IPC Phase 2).