FOOD SECURITY OVERVIEW
Low cereal harvests in the south, but nationally expected above-average rice production in 2022
National supply of rice, the country’s main staple food, estimated to be satisfactory in 2022/23, but limited supplies in the drought-stricken southern regions
Rice prices rose moderately, while overall food prices rose at a faster pace
Food insecurity expected to worsen in southern regions amid poor harvests, rising food prices and still high poverty rates
Drought conditions have kept cereal harvests in the south at low levels in 2022
Drought conditions in the highly food-insecure southern regions, which have experienced five consecutive years of poor food harvests (2016-2021), have kept cereal production at average to below-average levels in 2022. tubers will be harvested in August and production is also expected to be reduced in the southern and southwestern regions.
In the southern regions of Androy, Anosy, Atsimo Atsinanana and Atsimo Andrefana, the amounts of monthly rainfall between the start of the planting period in October 2021 and the start of the harvest in March 2022 have been constantly below the long-term average, which held back returns. These drier than average months were punctuated by a period of heavy rainfall in February 2022, caused by tropical cyclones Batsirai and Emnati. Despite some improvement in the development of pastures and crops, the abundant rains came too late to have a noticeable positive impact on crops and the intensity of the weather events also caused crop damage. High levels of poverty and the structural vulnerability of households significantly limit the ability of farmers to mitigate the negative impact of extreme weather events on agricultural production, contributing to the current high levels of food insecurity. To help address these challenges, in cooperation with the government, FAO distributed seeds of sorghum, a cereal more drought-resistant than maize, to 50,000 farming households in five districts of Androy and Anosy. This intervention has helped maintain cereal production in 2022 at close to average levels in the targeted areas.
Pending the publication of official estimates, national production of rice in 2022, the country’s main staple, is expected to remain above the five-year average. The good overall expectations reflect generally favorable weather conditions in the main central paddy producing regions. However, damage from successive tropical cyclones and storms has caused crop losses in eastern regions.
Adequate rice supplies expected nationally in 2022/23
Opening rice stocks are estimated to be above average for the 2022/23 marketing year (April/March) and, based on an above-average forecast harvest, domestic rice supplies are expected to increase. be at satisfactory levels in 2022/23. Compared to the previous year, import requirements are expected to decline moderately to below the average level of 500,000 tons.
However, in rural southern areas, supplies of rice and maize are expected to be limited due to poor harvests in 2022 as well as in previous years.
Rice prices rose slightly, while food inflation is expected to rise in the second half of 2022
According to the latest data from the National Institute of Statistics (INSTAT), rice prices increased by 3% year on year in May 2022, less than the 8% estimated for the food sub-component of the national index. consumer prices. Relatively moderate price increases for the country’s main staple food reflect generally adequate domestic supplies and low international benchmark prices, unlike prices of other key grain products which have risen sharply since the start of the war in Ukraine in February. 2022.
However, food prices, including rice, are expected to come under increased inflationary pressure in the near term, due to the co-occurrence of an upward revision in fuel prices in July, reflecting high world prices and a depreciation of the national currency between June and July which will accentuate the fallout from the already high international food prices.
Deterioration of food security conditions in the southern regions
According to the latest IPC analysis (May 2022), the prevalence of food insecurity in the southern regions of Androy, Anosy, Atsimo Atsinanana and Atsimo Andrefana is expected to peak at 2.1 million people by December 2022 until in March 2023 at least. This figure includes 1.8 million people expected to face IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) and nearly 0.3 people expected to face IPC Phase 4 (Emergency) conditions. Overall, the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance by the end of 2022 is expected to be around 30% higher than the record number in 2021.
The poor food security situation is mainly the consequence of six consecutive poor agricultural campaigns which have combined with very tight food supplies for rural households and a drop in income from the sale of crops. High rates of poverty and rising prices of essential food items, combined with heavy dependence on market supplies due to low harvests for personal consumption, also contribute to high rates of food insecurity in the regions. from South.