Staple food prices will likely remain above average in COVID-19 locked down cities
Below average rainfall has persisted in the south since January, negatively impacting staple crop production. Based on the anticipated poor April-June production of cereals and legumes, for some poor households the December to February lean season is anticipated to extend to extend atypically until July or August, when tubers are harvested.
Staple food prices increased in some cities following the announcement of the presence of COVID-19 in Madagascar. Price increases relaxed within a week, but prices remained above average in April as roadblocks intended to ensure sanitary measures were met also resulted in a general slowing of trade flows to three cities previously under relatively strong lockdown measures: Antananarivo, Tamatave, and Fianarantsoa. Although food supplies remain near normal in these cities, measures put in place by the government to suppress the spread of COVID-19 have dramatically reduced income-earning opportunities among daily wage laborers and led to a large-scale urban exodus.
Most of MG24 and MG23 are currently experiencing Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes. Nevertheless, some pockets of populations remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in Ambovombe. In other dry spell affected areas like MG25, MG26, and the eastern part of MG22, income sources among farmers have reduced. Information available in Amboasary and part of Fort-Dauphin indicated that food security and nutrition are deteriorating and point to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes. The three locked-down cities, Antananarivo, Fianarantsoa and Toamasina, are expected to be in Minimal (IPC Phase 1!) acute food insecurity through May. Some pockets of severe food insecurity remain, particularly among households dependent on earning daily wages.