Madagascar Supply and Market Outlook, 19 May 2017
Madagascar’s 2017 staple food production is expected to remain below average levels.
The ongoing main rice harvest will be less than 90 percent of 2016 levels as unexpected early season dryness resulted in a late start to the planting season. Maize and cassava production will see a modest recovery but similarly remain below average (Figure 1).
Rice imports will continue to play an important role in staple food supply over the coming months.
In March, Cyclone EWANO hit northeastern Madagascar and traveled almost the entire length of the Island, flooding agricultural fields, damaging household food stocks, and disrupting trade corridors. Households in the most severely affected areas of Antalaha,
Maroantsetra, and Brickaville are increasingly dependent on markets, as supply of key staples remain limited.
In southern Madagascar, staple food prices remain atypically high following three consecutive years of drought, and are expected to maintain above average levels in the near term. In Antananarivo, local and imported rice prices have been particularly high in recent months with local rice prices peaking at close to 2,000 Ariary per kilogram in March 2017 (Figure 2).
TYPICAL MARKET AND PRICE TRENDS IN MADAGASCAR
Madagascar’s main staples include rice, cassava, and maize with maize and cassava serving as the main substitutes for rice. The country depends on imported rice and maize to meet domestic requirements, particularly during the lean seasons, which run from December through February in the south and from March through May in north and central Madagascar (Figure 3). Imported quantities, though important, are generally small in relation to locally produced quantities (Table 1). Madagascar’s major commodity exports and foreign exchange earners include minerals like nickel and agricultural commodities such as vanilla and cloves.
Madagascar’s marketing calendar runs from July to June with the main rainy season occurring between November and March (Figure 3). Cereal production is dominant in the northern half of the country while tubers are mainly produced in the south. The major rice harvest occurs from April through June each year and supplies 80 percent of annual production while the secondary rice harvest from December to March accounts for 15 percent of national production. Irrigated rice fields account for 5 percent of total rice production and allow for a third rice season. Other staple foods like sweet potatoes are harvested during the second rice harvest in many parts of Madagascar.