An atypically severe upcoming lean season anticipated in southern Madagascar
Drought in southern areas, and subsequent crop losses and lower labor opportunities, is driving high needs. In October, available information points to area-level Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes, with some worst-affected households in Emergency (IPC Phase 4), already occurring in the lead up to the typical lean season. Large-scale assistance is anticipated between November and January and, in the presence of this assistance, many beneficiaries will be able to minimally meet their food needs, driving Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes at the area-level. However, it is likely some poor households will still be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Emergency (IPC Phase 4), and area-level outcomes would be more severe in the absence of this assistance.
National rice and cassava productions in 2019/20 were near the five-year average while that of maize decreased because of rainfall deficits that affected main producing areas of southern Madagascar in early 2020. Agricultural labor is currently near average at the national level because of near normal beginning of the 2020/21 rainy season, but below normal in the south where seeds are less accessible due to the below normal production in the previous season. Non-agricultural labor, particularly in urban areas and in touristic areas, is below normal as result of COVID-19 pandemic, which limited opportunities.
Main food supplies were disturbed during the COVID-19 emergency state in Madagascar both for locally produced and imported staple food. Supply has returned to near-normal levels, but as traders remain mistrustful about the evolution of COVID-19 and anticipate higher prices in the peak of lean season in February, the volume of staples sold at markets remains below average and prices are above normal.