Cassava yields slightly increase in south-west Madagascar as low-yield season begins
Ongoing humanitarian assistance is now mitigating the worst food security consequences in Betiokey and Ampanihi districts, some of the areas most affected by this year’s severe drought, resulting in a crisis. (IPC Phase 3!) results. Given the severe shocks that have hit these regions in recent years, such as drought and well below average maize and cassava yields, households’ ability to adopt coping strategies is very limited. In the absence of humanitarian assistance, an emergency (IPC Phase 4) could occur in southwestern Madagascar during the 2022/23 lean season.
Households in the Grand South now have access to the cassava and sweet potato harvest as the harvest is underway. However, due to limited access to inputs developed in south-west Madagascar during severe drought and poor soil moisture conditions, root and tuber production is expected to be below average. According to the Madagascar Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MINAE) cassava production forecast for 2022, the Atsimo Andrefana region is expected to be the worst affected, with cassava production in the region projected to be 11% lower than last year and the highest. projected to be 41% lower. Average over the last three years. Also, due to the impact of the cyclone in the Vatovavy Fitovinany region, this year’s cassava crop is expected to decrease by 8% compared to last year and 49% compared to his most recent three-year average.
Food prices for cereals (rice and maize) and legumes (cowpea) have continued to rise in key reference markets since June. Dried cassava and groundnut prices are also trending upward seasonally across the market, reflecting declining stock levels after maize harvest and before the start of cassava harvest. Food prices are consistently above 2021 and 5-year average levels across key reference markets, especially in the Grand South. In the Toliara market, corn prices are trending up 21% from June to July, 15% above 2021 levels and 103% above the five-year average. Meanwhile, prices for dried cassava and local rice in July were 82% and 14% higher than last year, respectively, and 211% and 48% above their five-year averages, respectively.
Forecasts indicate that the beginning of the 2022/23 wet season is most likely to experience average precipitation across the Grand South, supporting an on-time start of the agricultural season. A lack of soil moisture still has to be overcome, but rainfall should improve agricultural labor opportunities compared to last year. But years of drought, limited access to agricultural inputs, and higher-than-usual prices are all expected to lead to below-average agricultural labor opportunities and lower income levels for poor Grand South households. increase.