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Crop loss in Madagascar, severe hunger to persist into 2017

Staff Writer | October 28, 2016
The impact of severe El Niño-induced drought on crop production in southern Madagascar, where nearly 850 000 people are acutely food insecure, is likely to persist into 2017 and requires an intensified humanitarian response.
Disaster   Cassava production dropped by approximately half
The lack of sufficient rains in the southern region of Androy alone resulted in an 80 percent decline in maize production this year compared with the already reduced levels of 2015.

Prolonged drought also seriously affected the production of another staple food, cassava, in both Androy and another southern region, Atsimo-Andrefana, where cassava production dropped by approximately half.

People living in these areas have been hit by successive droughts over the last few years and their hunger situation is expected to remain severely stressed into 2017.

Meanwhile, parched conditions in the regions of Atsimo-Andrefana, Boeny, Melaky, Betsiboka and Ihorombe had a significant negative impact on rice production; with production declines of between 25 and 60 percent reported in these regions, according to a new FAO/World Food Programme (WFP) report released today based on data collected in July/August 2016.

Recently updated figures show how the impact on agricultural production has undermined human food security.

Some 1.4 million people are estimated to be food insecure in 2016/17 in Madagascar's three southern regions of Androy, Anosy and Atsimo-Andrefana.

Of these, around nearly 850 000 are acutely food insecure - meaning they are not able to meet their food needs and require urgent humanitarian assistance, according to the most recent Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis for Madagascar.

The drought in Madagascar's southern regions has reduced the country's overall domestic production of maize and cassava.

National maize production for 2016 is estimated at 316 000 tonnes, down 4 percent compared with the harvest in 2015 and 19 percent below the average.

Cassava production, estimated at 2.6 million tonnes, decreased by 16 percent versus the recent five-year average.

National rice (paddy) production benefited from good rains in the centre, northern and western parts of the country - the main rice producing areas - and is estimated at about 3.8 million tonnes in 2016, some 2.5 percent above the previous year, but still some 5 percent below the five-year average.