Reference Date: 25-April-2017
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Rice production in 2017 forecast to fall on an annual basis, mainly reflecting dryness in main-producing areas
Imports of rice projected to rise in 2017; currency weakness expected to maintain higher rice prices
Food security conditions remained stressed in southern regions, while impact of Cyclone Enawo increased humanitarian needs
Rice production in 2017 expected below average mostly on account of poor rains in main producing areas
Harvesting of the main season’s rice crop is underway and will stretch into July, slightly delayed due to the dryness earlier in the season. Rice production is expected to decline in 2017 and is provisionally forecast at 3.5 million tonnes (2.3 million tonnes, milled basis). The decrease is predominantly on account of reduced rains in the main producing areas of the north. Notably, dryness during the December-February period in Analamanga, Boeny and Alaotra-Mangoro regions, which combined contribute to over 20 percent to the national rice output, is expected to have curbed the area planted, while precipitation shortfalls will likely constrain yields.
Furthermore, the passing of Cyclone Enawo in early March, which traversed the length of the country, is reported to have caused widespread flooding of cropped land particularly in the northeast and east regions of Atsinanana, Analanjirofo and Sava. Although, the heavy rains reduced moisture deficits, crop damage is likely to further negatively weigh on this year’s rice output. An assessment to ascertain the agricultural damage and impact on food security has recently been finalized, and will inform on livelihood and agricultural needs.
In southern regions (Atsimo-Andrefana, Androy and Anosy), which were affected by successive drought years, rainfall conditions improved in 2016/17. However, the generally low productive capacities of farming households, due to the impact of consecutive years of reduced harvests, is anticipated to have limited any potential production gains this year. As a result, production of maize, which is mostly grown in southern parts, is expected to remain at a below-average level but slightly above 2016’s output.
National import requirement for rice forecast to rise in 2017
Rice imports in 2016 are estimated at about 200 000 tonnes, slightly down on the previous year, reflecting a moderate increase in domestic output in 2016. In 2017, due to the expected fall in national rice production, imports are forecast to rise sharply. However, a weakening of the local currency against the US dollar in recent months may constrain import volumes and also raise prices, which are likely to come under further upward pressure due to the lower domestic output in 2017.
Stressed food security conditions continue in south, while Cyclone Enawo results in large number of displaced persons
Approximately 434 000 people were affected by Cyclone Enawo and are in need of food assistance, of which about 247 000 were displaced due to floods mainly located in the northeast and east. In response to the Cyclone’s impact, the Government declared a national situation of emergency and launched an appeal for international assistance. An estimated 170 432 people have been targeted for emergency food assistance, while an additional 46 130 households will receive agricultural inputs.
In southern regions of Androy, Anosy and Atsimo Andrefana, which were severely affected by consecutive years of poor agricultural outputs, about 750 000 people are receiving food assistance. This is expected to continue until June when the new supplies from the 2017 will be available. In addition, farming households have been provided with agricultural inputs to support production in 2017.