Heavy above-average rainfall has been recorded in the north half of Madagascar leading to the flooding of rice fields in the Central, Western and Northeastern parts of the country. This has destroyed late first season crops that had not yet been harvested and young main season crops that were recently sown. Heavy rains also flooded villages and cut the RN4 that links Antananarivo to the North. According to the national meteorological department, most of the country has received average to above-average rainfall since December 2019, except along the Southwestern coasts.
Based on planting dates, water satisfaction requirements are likely to be met, though some only minimally depending on the area of the country. It is not expected that crop conditions for cereals such as maize will decline due to lack of water but flooding conditions in the north are concerning for crop development.
Fall Army Worm (FAW) has been observed on maize and sorghum crops in the South. The infestation rate is lower than the previous two years, particularly in areas that have received greater rainfall this year. However, drier areas, such as the districts of Ambovombe and Tsihombe, crops are reported to be more severely affected; in addition, because maize will be in the vegetative stage, and chemical pesticides are either inaccessible or unavailable, there is the possibility of FAW reemergence and amplification in the next few months. While maize and sorghum can regenerate foliar surface if the infestation rate is low enough, in localized Southern areas, negative impacts from FAW on crop production are likely.
Staple food access remained stable in most of Madagascar in December 2019 except in Mananjary where prices of rice are increasing atypically. The decrease in availability of dried cassava because of the lean season is leading to seasonally normal price increases in Ambovombe and Tulear II. Staple food prices for commodities such as imported rice and sweet potatoes are lower than last year, which improves market access for poor households both in rural and urban areas. Prices of maize and local rice continue to remain above average.
The food security situation has stabilized in the most vulnerable parts of Madagascar despite the ongoing lean season. Most households in Mahafaly Plain: Cassava, Goats and Cattle (MG 23) and in Androy Semi-Arid Cassava, Maize and Livestock (MG 24) remain in Stressed (IPC Phase 2). Nevertheless, some pockets of Crisis (IPC Phase 3) are observed inside these zones due to the depletion of staple food stocks and high staple food prices. Other households throughout Madagascar are experiencing Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity.