The lean season is approaching, and the consumption of tubers has seasonally increased, especially in southern Madagascar, given their relative affordability compared to rice.
In August 2020, large-scale in-kind assistance was distributed in response to COVID-19 in main affected cities, including Antananarivo, Toamasina, and Fianarantsoa. The distributions helped ease localized staple food price increases of 5 and 10 percent. However, in Tulear, where cash assistance was distributed rather than in-kind assistance, imported rice prices increased to around 30 percent above the five-year average, likely due to increased effective demand.
There are 16,377 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Madagascar as of the end of September and 49 new cases have been confirmed on average per day since early September. All of the regions are now affected, with most cases found in Analamanga, Atsinanana, Alaotra Mangoro, and Diana regions. Movement restrictions and curfews have been lifted across the country except for Diana region, where the number of new cases is increasing at a relatively higher rate.
In the south, movement restrictions for both goods and people have been eased. As a result, people who had previously migrated to the capital and the west for income-earning opportunities and were stranded, are now returning to their areas of origin. A significant portion of poor and very poor southern households, however, are beginning to have difficulty acquiring sufficient food to meet their basic needs due to seasonal stock depletion coupled with below-average labor opportunities and increased transport costs.
Most poor households in the south (MG23, MG24, and MG26) will likely experience Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes starting in October as their staple food stocks from own production deplete and income earnings remain below normal. With restrictions lifted in the three previously locked down cities of Antananarivo, Fianarantsoa, and Toamasina, acute food security outcomes are Minimal (IPC Phase 1) but some pockets remain in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) due to lower income sources opportunities. Elsewhere, Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes are expected to prevail, though some households who depend on tourism and producers who are affected by low farm-gate prices are in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity.