The lean season has started earlier than usual in Southern Madagascar
The agricultural season started on time in September in the Central Highlands and Western Madagascar with the timely start of the rainy season, which allowed farmers to plant first season rice and maize. Although normal rainfall is expected in the South, poor households may not have sufficient seeds to plant.
Cereal prices have remained stable since September and are comparable to last year’s prices but are 20 percent above the five-year average. Tuber prices have increased by 20 percent since last month (up to 75 percent for dried cassava in Tsihombe and Beloha due to diminished supplies) and are 10 percent above the five-year average, and 50 percent higher than last year due to decreased production. Poor households in the south who are dependent on markets will not be able to purchase as much food and will likely consume more wild foods to fill the gap.
According to the surveillance system managed by MoH, UNICEF and ONN, the nutrition situation in Ampanihy has been maintained in emergency since the second quarter of 2018, the latest screening showed a GAM of 19.2 percent. The situation in Beloha also showed a deterioration trend compared to last term, 4 communes out of 6 are in alert where GAM prevalence between 10 and 12 percent. In the 6 other districts in the South, situations are under control
Poor and very poor households in the in the southwest (MG23) of Madagascar are currently experiencing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity because of depleted food stocks and assets, and high dependence on markets where prices are increasing. In Androy (MG 24), food security is deteriorating due to the start of the lean season and is currently in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) with the exception of Beloha, where the situation is worst, that is experiencing Crisis (IPC Phase 3!). Food insecurity is less severe in the Southeast (MG 19) and (MG 20), which remains in Stressed (IPC Phase 2).
Almost all assistance in the South ended in August, with the exception of Beloha where the food insecurity situation is the most severe. Currently, CRS is providing food assistance to 80 percent of the population in two communes of Beloha and 3 communes of Tsihombe. WFP also expects to start activities in 6 other communes of Beloha.