Across southern Madagascar, large-scale humanitarian assistance is helping to mitigate food consumption gaps among poor and very poor households. Many poorer households are, however, still facing food consumption gaps or reliant on coping strategies indicative of Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes. As a result, most of southern Madagascar will likely experience Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) outcomes until the main harvest in March/April, and further assistance is needed to save lives and protect livelihoods.
As households start preparing for the 2021/22 agriculture season, the rainy season started slightly early in some northern areas, while in the central high plains and the eastern parts of the country the season started late by ten to twenty days. However, in the southern parts of the country, rains have not yet started. Although the forecast as of October called for average total rainfall during the main rainy months of November/December to March, the early season deficits are of increasing concern. Should rainfall not start in earnest in the coming 2-4 weeks, production, livestock, and labor impacts are likely to be worse than originally anticipated. Updates on the season and potential impacts on food security outcomes will be available in FEWS NET’s December Food Security Outlook Update.
Casual labor opportunities remain limited in southern Madagascar. Land preparation is the main ongoing activity, although demand for labor is low given limited rainfall to date and delaying agriculture-related labor activities like planting and weeding. With poor and very poor households facing constraints accessing seeds and pesticide due to high costs, very poor households who don’t receive distributed seeds will likely purchase fewer and/or poor-quality seeds meant for consumption. Crop production across southern Madagascar will likely be low and near the five-year average, under the assumption of average rainfall starting in the coming weeks. Should rainfall perform worse than currently forecast, further crop losses could be expected.
Inflation and fuel prices remain high and a recent move to increase transportation costs by 60 percent will likely further impact staple prices especially for the drought-affected and deficit-producing areas of southern Madagascar. Staple food prices remain nearly double the five-year average in some the worst drought affected areas like Ampanihy and Amboasary. As a result, poor households will be unable to purchase staple foods on markets and rely heavily on food assistance and consumption of unripe wild fruits.