Madagascar: Revised 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 impact of the natural disasters, delaying assessments and response initiatives. Overall, an estimated 410 000 individuals are in need of food assistance, including 150 000 people in the drought-affected south. The erratic rainfall between September 2008 and January 2009 severely reduced the harvest, resulting in increased food insecurity.
The first harvest of 2009, which had been delayed by three months to June, was also insufficient, causing an overall lack of seed stocks. 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 circumstance allow, support time-critical recovery. As the situation continued to evolve in subsequent months, further data became available regarding the needs of the affected populations. The Madagascar Revised Flash Appeal 2009 was launched on 24 July to adjust requirements in order to address these current needs.
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. It is estimated that 44 municipalities will be food insecure by September 2009, with their situation further exacerbated by the depletion of seed stocks.
Furthermore, as a result of the last lean season and dependence on damaging coping strategies, agricultural implements and material have been sold by households at low prices. The proportion of households owning a plough, an essential implement for rapid cultivation in an area where the soil must be worked immediately during the short and scarce rainy season, has fallen from 50 to 10 percent.
Under the Madagascar Revised Flash Appeal 2009, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) aims to improve the food security of the poorest households in drought-affected southern regions. FAO’s funding requirements to assist vulnerable populations in urban and peri-urban areas of Antananarivo, Fianarantsoa and Antsirabe were fully met through a contribution from the Government of Austria in response to the initial Appeal.
Under the Revised Appeal, FAO’s role in southern Madagascar has expanded. The total requirement for this profile has increased to USD 850 000, of which USD 322 498 has already been met through a contribution from the Central Emergency Response Fund. The project, entitled “Distribution of bean, maize and horticulture seeds, tool kits and cassava cuttings to vulnerable households affected by drought in the regions of Androy and Anosy”, aims to assist 23 000 households between June and September 2009.
FAO aims to provide seeds to a total of 30 000 households to assist in the resumption of their agricultural livelihoods for the upcoming planting season in September. Additionally, planned activities include the distribution of 3 000 ploughs to local agricultural groups (ten households per group) to assist in the immediate cultivation of their land.