Madagascar Key Message Update, July 2017
Cassava harvest started early in Southern Madagascar and production is near normal
Cassava harvests in Southern Madagascar (normally August-September) started in June 2017 due to farmers’ cash needs. Production in the south doubled compared to last year and is near the 5-year average. At the national level, production estimates remain around 3 million MT (near the 5-year average and 15 percent higher than last year). The second season rice harvest is complete and farmers in the central highlands are preparing fields for first season planting. National rice production estimates are still 20 percent lower than average with 50 percent production in the main producing areas. The maize harvest is complete, but, although production increased compared to last year, it remains below average.
Labor demand is increasing with the end of the harvest and land preparation for off season crops in the South and first season rice in the central highlands. Rain is continuing in the south and cropped areas are expanding, which increases labor opportunities. Other income generating activities such as mining, charcoal sales and fishing are continuing at this period of the year, particularly in the southwest where wages are at average levels.
Compared to May, nationally, prices of imported rice dropped by 7 percent due to the availability of local rice in the markets from the ongoing harvest, while the quantity of imported rice has doubled compared to last year. Prices of local rice, maize and cassava remained stable throughout the harvest as a result of poor rice production this year compared to normal. Maize prices are 33 percent higher and cassava are 24 percent higher compared to the 5-year average. Livestock prices have doubled this year compared to last year due to improved pasture conditions leading to good body conditions.
The Extreme South (MG 24) and Southwest Madagascar (MG 23) remain in Stressed (IPC phase 2) despite the ongoing good harvest of cassava, pulses and maize, which provided food and income for farmers. The recovery process from the consecutive drought is still slowed by below-normal staple food production and depletion of assets (ex. livestock). Nevertheless, the lean season is still expected to start in December as normal. The dryness at the beginning of the year in Southeast Madagascar is expected to yield very low harvests, which will maintain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) levels with Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in some communes.