Madagascar Key Message Update: Poor production across the south driving above-average migration to northern and western areas, September 2021

Situation Report
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Key Messages

  • Across the country, the price of imported goods including sugar, oil, white flour, and non-food items increased in August and September. Increased prices of imported goods are driven by currency depreciation; between the start of August and the end of September, MGA depreciated four percent. Imported and local rice prices, however, have remained stable but above average. Rice prices have remained stable due to the distribution of low-cost rice by the government for poor households in main urban areas. As for dried cassava, prices seasonally decreased during the peak of production in August but remain above average, especially in the south, due to the poor 2020/21 cropping season following the drought.

  • Between April and September, migration from the south atypically increased compared to average and last year as COVID-19 restrictions are now lifted and poor household production is largely below average. In addition, migrants from the south-east increased due to the below-normal rainfall in 2021 and the remaining impacts of COVID-19 on tourism and cash crops. These new migrants and those who are already in the main production and urban areas have limited opportunities due to the low demand for petty trade/services in urban areas and lower agricultural labor demand in rural areas. Subsequently, domestic remittances are below average, and some migrants are forced to adopt further emergency coping strategies like illegal forest exploitation in northern and western areas.

  • Between October 2021 and May 2022, rainfall will likely be near average. However, seed and cutting supplies will be insufficient for the next cropping season across the country. The shortage is more extreme in the south despite FAO and other actors seed distribution programs targeting 60,000 households among the estimated 220,000 households in need of assistance (according to the food security and livelihood cluster lead by FAO). In addition, pest attacks will likely be near average, but treatment capacity will be near zero as both households and government lack capacity to control them. As a result, green harvests from December to February will be below average. Additionally, labor opportunities during the sowing period from October to January will be below average.

  • Ongoing and planned humanitarian food assistance is anticipated to improve food security outcomes between September and October across much of southern Madagascar. Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) or Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected in most areas during this time. While humanitarian food assistance is helping to improve outcomes across southern Madagascar, any pipeline breaks in December and January may result in outcomes further deteriorating to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes in Ambovombe, Ampanihy, and Tsihombe districts, due to the poor cassava harvest, above-average food prices, and significantly limited labor opportunities.