Below-average rainfall expected to negatively affect early harvests in southern Madagascar
Below average and poorly distributed rains since the beginning of the October 2020 to May 2021 rainy season have led to large moisture deficits, resulting in drought and abnormal dryness over southern and central Madagascar. According USGS, cumulative rainfall across the southern half of Madagascar is now expected to be below average. The low level of rainfall to date has resulted in low water access for both human and livestock consumption. Below-average crop production is now expected in the south.
On monitored markets, staple food prices remain above last year and average levels. Cereal prices are 30 to 50 percent above average and tubers are 30 to 40 percent above average due to below normal supply, particularly in southern markets like Ambovombe and Tulear I.
Effects of drought in southern areas, subsequent crop losses, and lower labor opportunities, are expected to maintain high needs through at least March 2021. Large-scale humanitarian food assistance has been delivered in Ampanihy, Ambovombe, Amboasary, and Taolagnaro, driving Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes in December 2020. These outcomes are expected to persist with continued assistance delivery through January 2021. In Bekily, Betioky, Tsihombe, Beloha, Betroka, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are likely through January. Between February and May, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected across most of southern Madagascar.
In the southeast, the Rapid Crop and Food Security Assessment carried out in September 2020 found that in Manakara, Vohipeno, Farafangana and Vangaindrano, many poor households were facing difficulty meeting their non-food needs, driven by COVID-19 related impacts combined with the effect of flooding on rice crops earlier in the year. During the peak of the rainy season between December 2020 and May 2021, market functioning will likely decrease, households will have fewer income-earning opportunities, and wild food consumption will increase. The four districts will likely face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes through May 2021.