Madagascar Flash Appeal 2009
In 2009, Madagascar has suffered the effects of multiple crises, including drought and cyclones. Political instability, which led to the recent ousting of the President, has exacerbated the effects of the natural disasters, delaying assessments and response initiatives. Overall, an estimated 410 000 people are in need of food assistance, including 150 000 people in the drought-affected south and 260 000 in the four major cities where the effects of political unrest have been the worst.
The erratic rainfall between September 2008 and January 2009 had a devastating effect on the December 2008 harvest, resulting in increased food insecurity. In the south, attention has been diverted from humanitarian interventions that were previously underway as a result of the political crisis. The situation has affected preparedness, while security concerns have delayed operations, particularly regarding the transport of essential inputs.
The Madagascar Flash Appeal 2009 was launched on 7 April to prevent the deterioration of the humanitarian situation, save lives, bolster social safety nets and, should the political situation allow, support time-critical recovery.
Challenges facing food security and livelihoods
Approximately 80 percent of Madagascar’s population depends on agriculture-related activities for income and, for many, as a means to provide food for their families. Partners estimate that, since the beginning of the socio-political crisis in January 2009, the number of food-insecure households in urban areas has increased. Price increases have put the most basic commodities beyond the reach of 512 000 people who had already been classified as food-insecure according to an assessment conducted by the World Food Programme (WFP).
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that 30- to 40 percent of the expected cereal production could have been lost in the drought-affected south. The first harvest of 2009 is expected not only to be poor, but also delayed by three months, until June 2009. With the rainy season ending in April 2009, FAO estimates that it will not be possible to replant cereals such as maize and sorghum before November 2009. Consequently, subsistence farmers’ food security will depend almost entirely on horticultural production and animal husbandry.
In January 2009, a joint Government/ United Nations Children’s Fund/WFP mission indicated that although an acute nutritional crisis was not yet evident, indicators would deteriorate rapidly in the absence of immediate assistance.
FAO aims to improve food security for the most vulnerable groups in four major urban areas and 31 drought-affected communes in southern Madagascar. The Food Security and Livelihoods sector will be led by FAO and WFP to ensure coordination among humanitarian partners and technically sound interventions, avoid overlap and maximize the synergies of agricultural interventions and their outcomes.
Within the framework of the Madagascar Flash Appeal 2009, FAO has requested USD 1.3 million. The main objectives of the proposed projects include:
- enhancing rapid urban agriculture to increase the availability of fresh food for self-consumption and provide complementary sources of income; and
- improving rapid and small-scale vegetable production, as well as promoting small animal rearing, in the drought-affected south.
This appeal will be revised as the situation evolves and further data becomes available.