Rice prices are 65 percent above normal in main cities
Cassava and sweet potato harvests have recently concluded, and farmers are now selling dried cassava. Overall tuber production was near normal this year in the South and Southern highlands. Maize harvests have already begun in villages located along rivers in the South leading to improved maize availability in Tulear I, Betioky and Amboasary markets. In other parts of the country, maize sowing just started with the arrival of first rains. First season rice harvests (usually 10 percent of total annual production) have begun in Fort-Dauphin, Ihosy and Antsirabe.
With the on-time arrival of rains, labor demand is increasing. Some farmers are still preparing their land for rice and maize while others are sowing or already transplanting rice. This increases incomes from agricultural activities in the highlands and large plain areas but does not have a great impact on household income in the south because most farmers currently are only working their own land. Other income generating activities such as mining, charcoal production and fishing are slowing down due to the beginning of rainy season. No excessive livestock sales have been observed yet.
Rice prices have reached a record high in Madagascar, particularly in Antananarivo and Antsirabe I where prices vary between 2,200 and 2,400 Ariary per kilo, which is 20 to 30 percent higher than last month, 65 percent higher than last year and 75 percent above the 5-year average. Prices of staple foods in southern Madagascar remain stable mainly due to the recent cassava harvest, the availability of sweet potatoes, the new harvest of maize along the Onilahy river, and the regular supply of imported rice from Tulear or Fort-Dauphin.
The Extreme South (MG 24) and the Southwest (MG 23) are currently in Crisis (IPC Phase 3), despite the good harvest of cassava and the stability of food prices, household incomes remain low, which limits their access to purchased food. MG 22 remains in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) due to insufficient agricultural production and poor road conditions that result in high food prices in deficit areas. Southeast Madagascar (MG 19) remains in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) due to continuing high prices of staple foods and the chronical vulnerability of the area, but the situation is improving as a result of new harvests and supplies from other regions (Ihosy and Haute Matsiatra), which are improving food availability and allowing households to recover their incomes.