Second consecutive below-average season in southern Madagascar drives high 2021 needs
Over the past six years (2015/16-2020/21) southern Madagascar has experienced five below-average rainy seasons. The past two consecutive below-average seasons have led to a severe reduction in staple food production and declined livestock herd size and body condition. Poor households’ 2019/20 food stocks ran out in September, two months earlier than usual, and crops from the 2020/21 season will not be available until May and will likely be below average. Available information suggests poor households are selling more livestock and other productive assets for income to purchase food, and food aid through January helped mitigate consumption deficits for some households. Overall low income coupled with high staple food prices will continue to drive Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes in much of southern Madagascar even during the 2021 harvest.
Since January 2021, tropical storms Chalane and Eloise made landfall in Madagascar and provided heavy, temporarily favorable rainfall across northern and central areas for the current cropping season. Despite some damage to homes and infrastructure and localized floods, impact was negligible compared to the 2019/20 cyclone season. With three months remaining in the season, there remains the potential for additional storms to make landfall on the island, which could lead to flooding and negatively affect the cropping season.
The indirect impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic persist, in particular in urban areas where prices remain above average and income earning opportunities are low. Unemployment remains high as many small and medium-sized enterprises remain closed. There are also fewer opportunities for seasonal migrants to earn income, and income from mining, textiles, and tourism is very low due to sustained low international demand. While most households in Toliara, Toamasina, and Antananarivo are still able to meet their basic food and non-food needs, worst-affected very poor households are likely to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security outcomes from February to May.