1 October 1997



An FAO/WFP Mission visited Madagascar from 18 August to 5 September 1997 to assess the damage caused by locusts to crops in the southern part of the country and to evaluate its implications on the food supply situation. The Mission was joined by two senior staff members of the Office of the General Commissioner for the Integrated Development of the South of Madagascar (CGDIS), which co-ordinates all development activities in the southern part of the country. In conducting the assessment, the Mission was split into two teams so that as many sub-prefectures and districts as possible could be visited in the two provinces of Toliary and Fianarantsoa that were affected by the locust outbreak. One team visited sub-prefectures between Ambovombe in the southern coastal area and Ihosy in the north and continued westward to Sakaraha and Toliary, the provincial capital. This allowed the Mission to visit areas covered by the regional early warning unit (SAP) as well as areas outside the SAP zone. The second team assessed conditions in the coastal areas of the south and south-west, including Beloha, Ampanihy, Betioky and Toliary, visiting sub-prefectures and districts classified in the various risk areas identified by the SAP.

The Missionís evaluation is based on discussions with government officials at the national and local level, farmers, the business community, representatives of NGOs and churches, UN agencies and bilateral donors, field projects, private rural doctors and veterinarians. Market places were also visited to assess the availability, sources and prices of food and discuss the impact of locusts on the livelihood of the population. The results of several studies on the outcome of the crop season, the impact of the locust outbreak on crops and the nutritional situation of the population in various areas were also reviewed.

The Mission found that the impact of locusts was not uniform throughout the affected area, which could be divided into three zones (northern, central and southern). The southern zone was the most affected by the combined effect of locusts and poor rainfall, leading to the loss of most of the maize crop and a sharp reduction in the output of other crops such as cassava and sweet potatoes. The food supply situation is precarious for people in this zone, particularly in the southern coastal areas of Ambovombe, Ampanihy, Beloha and Tsihombe where some population migration is reported in most severely affected areas. Overall, cereal production (mainly maize and rice) was the worst affected with the reductions estimated at between 30-80 percent compared to 1996.

However, the production shortfall in the southern part of the country has been offset by good harvests in other parts where more than 90 percent of cereal output is produced. Abundant and regular rainfall during the growing season as well as the strong impact of several agricultural extension and food security projects benefited crops and resulted in significant increases in production. Rice and maize output exceeded the 1996 level and also the average of the last five years in the main producing areas of the centre and north.

Nationally, the Mission estimates the 1997 total cereal harvest (rice, maize and wheat) at 2.70 million tons, about the same as in 1996. Cassava and sweet potato production is estimated at some 2.83 million tons, down 1.3 percent. Cereal import requirements for the 1997/98 marketing year are evaluated at 168 000 tons, mostly rice and wheat. Three-fourths is expected to be supplied through commercial channels and the remainder, about 43 000 tons as food aid. Given the low purchasing power of the rural population in the south, the Mission considers the food supply situation as very precarious, particularly in the southern coastal areas. The available food supply for many rural households may not exceed two monthsí requirements. The Mission, therefore, recommends urgent provision of food assistance for an estimated 472 000 people in the affected areas for a period of 3 months. This assistance should be in the form of food-for-work, which has been estimated at 3 871 tons.

Much of the food aid needed is either already available in the country, committed or can be purchased locally. However, given the possibility of a deterioration in the food and nutritional situation in the affected areas, a review of the situation should be undertaken in October by development agencies operating in the region under the coordination of the CGDIS to assess the need for further assistance. Consideration should also be given to providing seeds, particularly maize, millet and sorghum seed, to farmers for the upcoming crop season which starts in October/November. An information and awareness campaign is also needed on the on-going locust control activities in order to allay farmersí fears of further crop losses to locusts. A prerequisite of these actions, however, is the intensification of locust control operations during the next two months to eliminate existing locust swarms prior to the start of the rainy season.



1/ Sources used for the information presented in this section include: World Bank Resident Mission in Madagascar: Quarterly Reports, Oct-Dec 1996; Jan-Mach and April-June 1997; Madagascar: Review of Rural development Strategy - Draft Working Paper, June 1997, Investment Center Division, FAO and Country Profile:Madagascar - 1996-97 (The Economic Intelligence Unit);.

The fourth largest island in the world with an area of 587 000 km2 and an estimated population of 14.1 million (1997), Madagascar is characterized by the diversity of its ecology and climate which makes it possible to grow temperate crops such as apples, pears, plums and citrus fruits, tropical products such as mangoes and litchi, as well as a wide variety of other crops including coffee, cloves, sisal, maize, tubers and various spices. The country also enjoys a unique marine resource potential (shrimps, lobsters, fish, etc.) while livestock husbandry, particularly for cattle, is a way of life for many people in southern and plateau areas of the country.

However, despite its considerable potential, Madagascar is classified as a Low-Income-Food-Deficit Country. Following a steady decline of the economic situation of the country during the 1970s and 1980s, some 75 percent of the population, mostly in rural areas, live below the poverty line. Real per caput income dropped by over 40 percent between 1970 and 1995. With investment representing only 11 percent of GDP, infrastructure and basic social services have badly deteriorated, especially in the southern part of the country. The economic stabilization programme initiated in 1986 has led to some positive results with the annual inflation rate falling from 39 percent in 1994 (following the depreciation of the Malagasy franc and loose monetary policy) and 37 percent in 1995 to 8 percent in 1996. The Central Bank base lending rate declined from 33 percent in January 1996 to 12 percent since May 1997 and the trade balance in both 1995 and 1996 was positive.

The southern and least endowed part of the country is also the region most affected by the economic difficulties of Madagascar. The area has an arid climate with an annual rainfall between 300 and 800 mm, except in the south-eastern region of Tolagnaro where the average rainfall exceeds 1000 mm annually. In most other areas, the availability of an adequate supply of water for human and livestock consumption, and for crops is a major recurring problem for most families. Livestock, particularly cattle rearing, traditionally holds a major economic and social place in the region as it provides some two-thirds of household income. However, animal numbers fluctuate widely from one year to another as most people tend to invest their savings in livestock in good years while the sale of animals acts as a cushion during the years of poor harvest. Southern Madagascar is also a source of many minerals and a relatively large variety of marine products. However, the poor state of communication facilities (rural roads, telecommunications) makes it difficult to develop the potential, including tourism, and contributes to the isolation of the region from Madagascarís major trading centres.


3. THE 1996/97 CROP SEASON


3.1 Locust situation in 1996/97

In 1996, larvae escaped at the time of preliminary treatment in October 1996 to Antanimieva, Befandriana Sud and Analamisampy, which increased the residual population. These larvae were the starting point for the current invasion in the south of the island. By January 1997, the larval populations of Locusta Migratoria Capito had all become gregarious. As a result of favourable climatic conditions created by good rainfall at the start of the 1996/97 season and following the passage of the Fabiola and Gretel cyclones in January 1997, four generations of Locusta and one of Nomadacris have developed since October 1996. By the end of February 1997, some 2 to 2.5 million hectares had been infested by swarms and hopper bands. Since then, swarms have been spotted in all the regions in the south and south-west of Madagascar in the province of Toliary and the south of the province of Fianarantsoa. More recently, some swarms have managed to infiltrate further north towards the High Plateaux. As at 31 August 1997, some 397 swarms had been treated over an estimated total area of 256 000 hectares. Given initial delays in organizing the means, which were in any case insufficient, control actions initiated over eight months ago need to be continued but more vigorously.

In this regard, the next two months before the rains set in will be decisive in stopping the invasion. At the moment, the immature swarms are still waiting for favourable conditions to enable them to reach maturity and egg-laying stage. Therefore, the goal of control operations between now and November should be to reduce the swarms as much as possible to minimize the danger during the next crop season (1997/98).

The 1996/97 crop season started well with sufficient rainfall between October and December 1996. Cyclones Fabiola and Gretel which occurred in January 1997, despite causing considerable damage, created the right conditions for a good crop season. Rainfall was both abundant and well distributed over most of the country with the exception of the Androy region, which regularly suffers from insufficient rainfall.

Despite a slight delay in sowing, crops developed satisfactorily. Activities carried out under the National Agricultural Extension Programme (PNVA) and the active participation of several development and credit organizations in assisting farmers were also key factors in the favourable development of the crop season. Nevertheless, the province of Toliary experienced a serious reduction in rainfall during the months of March and June 1997 and also suffered from locust invasions. This situation seriously affected the far south of the province where the maize and rice crops suffered big losses due to locusts. Locusts also ravaged pastures, greatly reducing the grazing potential for livestock. The sweet potato and cassava crops suffered more from lack of rain.

3.2 Assessment of Crop Losses in 1996/97

In the zones described above in the province of Toliary and south Fianarantsoa, food production has fallen considerably this year compared to the 1996 crop season. As shown in Table 1 below, cereals were the worst affected. There was a 60 percent fall in maize production compared to 1996, with a drop of 80 percent in the Southern Zone. Rice production fell by 32 percent and by even more in the North-Eastern (50 percent) and the Central (40 percent) zones. Cassava and sweet potato harvests fell by 12 percent and 30 percent respectively. The Southern Zone was affected by the combination action of locusts and drought, and the maize crop suffered the greatest locust damage. Overall losses due to locust damage have been estimated at 30 percent, 50 percent and 90 percent respectively in the Southern, Central and Northern zones.

Table 1: Madagascar - Food Production and Losses in Locust Affected Zones, 1996/97 (Tons)
Maize  Rice  Cassava  Potatoes 
1996  1997  %  1996  1997  %  1996  1997  %  1996  1997  %
S. Coastal  10 064  2 012  -80.0  660  462  -30.0  55 582  36 128  -35.0  52 696  18 443  -65.0
S. East  140  131  -6.4  8 590  7 731  -10.0  40 975  40 155  -2.0  3 830  3 753  -2.0
N. East  870  696  -20.0  44 005  22 002  -50.0  57 137  57 137  0.0  6 985  6 985  0.0
N. West  5 285  4 758  -10.0  30 215  28 704  -5.0  67 204  67 204  0.0  18 921  18 921  0.0
Central  7 211  1 802  -75.0  23 813  14 289  -40.0  126 791  104 602  -17.5  33 332  33 332  0.0
Total  23 570  9 399  -60.1  107 283  73 188  -31.8  347 689  305 226  -12.2  115 764  81 434  -29.7

3.3 Overall Foodcrop Production Estimates, 1996/97

Madagascar has great potential for rice and maize production, mainly due to the large variety of soil types and climatic diversity. Nevertheless, natural hazards (cyclones, drought, locust invasions) combined with old-fashioned farming practices limit production.

Because of irregular collection of agricultural statistics, information about food crop production levels is only approximate. Due to lack of financial and material means, the 1996/97 crop survey was not carried out. Projections are used as official statistics. In this context, the Mission used data from the 1995/96 crop survey as a base. These data were then adjusted on the basis of information gathered from various projects, NGOs and other organizations working in the south, as well as the results of the Missionís own rapid field survey.

Area planted

The data gathered show that cultivated land varied widely from season to season. This is due to several factors, including destruction of rice crops by cyclones, poor management of irrigation systems and water users associations, and the practice of burning bushland for cultivation. The flow of migrants from the south since the 1991 famine is also contributing each season to the extension of cultivated land in the west and north of the country.

The south suffered locust invasions and maize and rice at early vegetative stages were attacked, leading to replantings, but most of these did not mature. As a result, large areas were lost this growing season.


The two cyclones Fabiola and Gretel were beneficial for short-cycle crops but had a rather negative effect on rice because of a delay in planting to June-July, which coincided with poor rainfall at the end of the cycle. This had a bad effect on second season rice yields.

In the west and centre of Madagascar, the seasonís abundant rainfall and the intensification of the agricultural extension programmes led to rice yields of 10 tons per hectare in some places. In the south, where rainfall was poor, average maize yields were between 700 and 900 kg/hectare. Conditions are generally not very favourable for maize cultivation in this part and other crops such as millet and sorghum would be more appropriate. During this crop season the situation was exacerbated by locusts, which destroyed maize in several areas in the south.


Total cereal output (maize, rice and wheat) is estimated at 2 704 744 tons, against 2 682 000 tons in 1996 or an increase of 0.8 percent. Cassava and sweet potato output totalled 2 834 641 against 2 871 351 tons in 1996, a drop of 1.3 percent. As shown in Table 2 below, maize and sweet potato output fell by 2.3 percent and 8.5 percent respectively, whilst rice and cassava rose by 1.1 percent and 0.3 percent. The situation by province shows a marked fall in harvests in the province of Toliary, which faced the combined effects of drought and locust attacks: 49.5 percent for maize, 17 percent for rice, 13 percent for cassava and 41 percent for sweet potatoes. The province of Fianarantsoa also suffered locust damage in the southern part which explains the relatively poor results of this seasonís rice crop (0.4 percent increase).

Table 2: 1996/97 Food Production by Province (Tons)
Maize  Rice  Cassava  Potatoes 
1996  1997  %  1996  1997  %  1996  1997  %  1996  1997  %
Tananarivo  67 960  71 800  5.7  490 940  508 200  3.5  366 835  378 900  3.3  192 100  195 950  2.0
Fianarantsoa  22 060  23 128  4.8  450 365  452 068  0.4  1 154 145  1 191 900  3.3  144 400  147 300  2.0
Toamasina  42 000  44 300  5.5  584 995  601 900  2.9  271 302  280 000  3.2  23 450  23 900  1.9
Mahajanga  13 220  13 900  5.1  538 360  553 800  2.9  121 986  122 000  0.0  11 100  11 350  2.3
Toliary  25 360  12 799  -49.5  183 545  151 849  -17.3  399 978  347 437  -13.1  122 650  72 404  -41.0
Antsiranana  9 400  9 900  5.3  248 795  256 100  2.9  57 105  57 100  -0.0  6 300  6 400  1.6
Total  180 000  175 827  -2.3  2 497 000  2 523 917  1.1  2 371 351  2 377 337  0.3  500 000  457 304  -8.5
Compared to the average for the last five years (Table 3), a marked fall in output in the province of Toliary is noted; over 44 percent for maize and 40 percent for sweet potatoes. These two crops were badly affected by locusts (maize) and poor rainfall (sweet potatoes). At national level however, apart from the 7 percent fall in sweet potato production, output of the other crops exceeded the five year average by 8 percent for maize, 2.5 percent for rice and 1 percent for cassava.

Table 3: 1996/97 Food Production Compared to the 1992-1996 Average (Tons)

Maize  Rice  Cassava  Sweet potatoes 
1992/96  1996/97  %  1992/96  1996/97  %  1992/96  1996/97  %  1992/96  1996/97  %
Tananarivo  79 988  71 800  -10.2  554 877  508 200  -8.4  366 396  378 900  3.4  189 163  195 950  3.6
Fianarantsoa  20 029  23 128  15.5  488 511  452 068  -7.5  1 152 327  1 191 900  3.4  142 187  147 300  3.6
Toamasina  20 620  44 300  114.8  458 446  601 900  31.3  270 885  280 000  3.4  23 099  23 900  3.5
Mahajanga  13 201  13 900  5.3  531 574  553 800  4.2  117 986  122 000  3.4  10 963  11 350  3.5
Toliary  23 004  12 799  -44.4  185 683  151 849  -18.2  386 626  347 437  -10.1  120 788  72 404  -40.1
Antsiranana  5 331  9 900  85.7  242 310  256 100  5.7  55 191  57 100  3.5  6 191  6 400  3.4
Total  162 173  175 827  8.4  2 461 401  2 523 917  2.5  2 349 411  2 377 337  1.2  492 391  457 304  -7.1




4.1 The Southern Zone

The Southern Coastal Sub-zone

This sub-zone suffered from both locusts and drought. However, crops were more affected by the drought during the months of March and June, which were particularly dry. Several replantings were done during the season in many areas, but without success. The impact of the poor rainfall, coupled with the locust invasion, seriously affected harvests of the main foodcrops.

The start of the season was promising with heavy rain in the wake of cyclones Fabiola and Gretel in January 1997. But large locust larvae infestations from February onward affected a significant part of the maize crop in the whole of the Southern zone, and also the rice crop in the sub-prefecture of Amboasary-sud. Other major crops, cassava and the sweet potato, suffered more from a lack of rain. There were large reductions in harvests in this zone, up to 90 percent in some places compared to last yearís output.

This situation led to the inter-season lean period starting early. In order to feed themselves, people sold animals (goats and cattle) to buy cereals. The most severely affected people even had to sell their household possessions. There are insufficient food supplies in the markets, most of which come from Toliary and Fianarantsoa. Food prices have already reached very high levels on the market. Roasted maize is selling at 1 500 Fmg/kg from 850 Fmg/kg at the same time in 1995/96, while cassava is selling at between 500-1 000 Fmg/kg against 250 Fmg/kg last year, both at a time of relatively low inflation in the economy

Livestock has been hard hit by the destruction of grazing land. Cows are very thin and, to avoid severe herd losses, farmers are putting an unusual number of cattle on the market for sale. But, due to a lack of buyers, prices have reached levels well below the norm. The situation is aggravated by the imposition, on sanitary grounds, of strict restrictions by the EU on meat imports from Madagascar. In addition, farmers are also worried by the emergence of some cases of anthrax.

This situation has provoked significant migratory movements among the populations. People are moving north in search of seasonal work. The food situation is critical in several areas where preliminary signs of child malnutrition can be observed.

The South-Eastern Sub-zone

This covers the entire sub-prefecture of Fort Dauphin. The crop season developed normally on the whole with good rainfall overall. However a slight rainfall deficit (in the Manambolo region) marginally affected the rice crop.

The maize and rice crops were not seriously affected by locust damage. The swarms passed late (in May) at a time when the crops had already matured. In contrast, pastures and forests were attacked by locusts. Overall, harvests were satisfactory and markets are well supplied. Nevertheless, the prices of cassava and sweet potatoes (largely coming from other regions) rose.

4.2 The Central Zone

Like the Southern zone, this zone experienced irregular rainfall and locust attacks but the effect of the latter on the crops was more pronounced. Locust invasions occurred in the zone from December onwards, almost continuously until harvest time. Output was reduced substantially following the attacks and poor rainfall, particularly in the area bordering the Southern zone. Second season rice and maize suffered the most from locust attacks.

The fall in food production caused a rise in prices on most markets. At Beraketa, rice was being sold at 1 900 Fmg/kg compared to 1 200 Fmg/kg at the same time the previous year, and at Beloha it cost 2 210 Fmg/kg. Markets are insufficiently supplied with rice, maize and sweet potatoes. With substantial loss of pastures, livestock face a particularly difficult situation. The poor harvest has compelled people to sell some of their livestock to buy food. Others have had to look for work with companies in the zone (SOMIDA) or move to the north.

Rice growing is a very important activity in this zone (70 percent of the population is involved in this crop) but the almost permanent presence of locusts could limit development for several years. About 15 percent of the population may suffer food shortages in the next few months and some children are showing signs of malnutrition.

4. 3 The Northern Zone

The North-Eastern Sub-zone

This sub-zone was not much affected by drought this season. Rainfall was abundant and regular during the early months of the season. However, at Betroka, rice had some difficulty in reaching maturity due to a slight deficit in rainfall in some places. Without the destruction caused by locusts, this seasonís harvests would have been exceptionally good. Locust larvae appeared in the zone in January 1997 and the first swarms arrived in March when the second season crops were growing. Locust attacks affected late planted rice more severely (losses up to 45 percent) than maize which was ripening (10 percent). The effect of locust on the other crops, cassava and sweet potatoes, was minimal.

The nutritional situation is not a cause for concern and food prices are stable and at about the same level as last season for maize, cassava and the sweet potato. Rice is selling at about 1 800 Fmg/kg compared to 2 000 Fmg/kg in 1995/96. This situation is partly due to a reduced number of buyers in the zone.

Grazing lands also suffered quite serious damage following the locust invasion. At the moment, there is hardly any pastures in the zone and the cattle are beginning to lose weight. In consequence, distress sales are being made which, together with low demand, lead to low cattle prices.

The North-Western Sub-zone

This sub-zone was invaded by locusts at the same time as some of the crops were about to be harvested. The first outbreaks were reported in May and June 1997 when rice was ripening and maize maturing. The district of Andranovory and part of the sub-prefecture of Sakaraha were the most affected by locust attacks. About 10 percent of the second season rice was destroyed by locusts in this zone. The sub-prefecture of Bétioky-sud where more cassava is grown was not seriously affected.

As a result of abundant rains in January and February, a good cassava harvest is expected this season. On the other hand, maize output will fall by some 5 percent due to delays in planting. Food prices in markets compare favourably with those of last season, maize selling at between 340 and 425 Fmg/kg and cassava at 150 Fmg/kg .

Locust invasions have had little effect on livestock. However, there is a real threat to rice production next season as transplanted rice and rice for transplanting are currently being attacked by locust swarms. Farmers are very worried and reluctant to continue with their farming activities.



The food supply situation is precarious for people in the southern coastal zone such as Ambovombe, Ampanihy, Beloha and Tsihombe, where crops were most affected by the combined effect of locusts and poor rainfall, leading to the loss of most of the maize crop and a sharp reduction in the output of other crops such as cassava and sweet potatoes. In most severely affected areas, people are increasingly eating wild plants (cactus fruit or raketa). Population migration has been reported in areas such as Erada, Itampolo and Faux Cap, in search of work in cities in the north of the region. The nutritional situation is stable in many areas but early signs of worsening are becoming apparent, particularly among children.

Reflecting an overall satisfactory outcome of the season at the national level, rice is available on many markets, particularly in northern areas and large districts. Prices indicate no major changes from those of 996. Maize on the other hand, is not available on several markets or its prices are generally higher than in the previous year by some 40 to 90 percent, particularly in the southern zone where little maize was harvested this year. Indeed, supply generally originates from Toliary and Fianarantsoa. Cassava and sweet potatoes are available in many rural markets, but their prices are also trending upward. In Beloha and Beraketa, located in the central zone, sweet potato prices are more than double the 1996 levels.

Reflecting the poor quality of pastures which were seriously affected by both locusts and poor rainfall in many southern and central zones, animals are in poor condition. As early as July, some families started selling substantial numbers of livestock in order to avoid losses, but also to meet their own subsistence needs during this difficult inter-season period.

5.1 Cereal supply and demand balance for 1997/98

Given the lack of statistical data on inter-regional trade, supply and demand balance is calculated at the national level for cereals which account for over half of the calorie intake of the Malagasy population.

Taking into account the locust outbreak which affected crops in the southern part of the country, the Mission estimates cereal production in 1997 at 2.7 million tons, about the same level as in 1996. This includes 2.52 million tons of rice (milled: 1.68 million tons), 176 000 tons of maize and 5 000 tons of wheat. Compared to 1996, only maize output shows a decrease in national production (2.3 percent). The fall in output in the south was offset by higher production in other provinces in the country.

The Missionís interviews confirmed that most farmers sell the bulk of their output just after harvest, implying that farm level stocks tend to be negligible. Since the liberalization of the cereal market in 1988, it is difficult to obtain accurate information on commercial stocks, despite the requirement that grain traders regularly report their stock levels to the Trade Ministry. Discussions with Trade Ministry and National Statistics Bureau officers indicated that a reasonable estimate for opening cereal stock was 65 000 tons on 1 April 1997.

Based on August 1993 population census, which indicated a national population of 12.24 million and assuming a population growth rate of 2.8 percent [ An annual population growth rate of 2.8 percent is used as projected by the World Bank for 1989-2000. ] per year, the national population is projected to be 14.11 million at the end of September 1997, the middle of 1997/98 marketing year. Cereal consumption requirements are those used by the April 1997 FAO/WFP Mission: annual per caput consumption of 120 kg of rice, 10 kg of maize and 5 kg of wheat. Similarly, feed use of grains is assumed to be negligible given the nature of livestock husbandry, and non-food uses and losses are assumed to account for 8 percent for rice, 13 percent for maize, and 5 percent for wheat.

Based of the Ministry of Trade figures and interviews with private traders, the total anticipated commercial imports are estimated at 125 000 tons, consisting of 65 000 tons of rice and 60 000 tons of wheat. The balance sheet (Table 4) indicates a total food aid need of 43 000 tons, including 36 000 tons of rice and 7 000 tons of wheat.

Table 4: Madagascar: Cereal Supply/Demand Balance Sheet, 1997/98 (000 tons)

Rice (Milled)  Maize  Wheat  Total
A. DOMESTIC AVAILABILITY  1 741  180  10  1 931
Opening Stocks  56  65
Production 1997  1 685  176  1 866
B. TOTAL UTILIZATION  1 842  180  77  2 099
Food Use  1 693  141  71  1 905
Seed, feed and other uses  135  23  159
Closing Stocks  14  16  35
C. IMPORT REQUIREMENTS  101  0  67  168
Anticipated Commercial Imports  65  60  125
Food Aid  36  43

5.2. Food Aid

Following the field visit, the Mission considered that free distributions were not required immediately. Nevertheless, given the deterioration of the food situation in the districts listed "DA" (Food Difficulties) by SAP (Table 5), the Mission confirmed the need to provide food aid through food-for-work (FFW) activities for a period of three months from mid-September to mid-December, a period which could be prolonged if the situation worsened.

In addition, the Mission recommends intervention in the coastal zones of Toliary-Sud, Ampanihy, Beloha, Tsihombe, Amboasary and Ambovombe where the situation is deemed precarious.

The total target population has thus been estimated at 472 067 people, about 30 percent of the population of the province of Toliary affected by the locust invasion. The Mission noted that on average 30 percent of the inhabitants of these districts were in a precarious situation and should therefore be assisted as soon as possible.

It is therefore proposed to assist the families who carry out development work (5 days/month) with a daily family ration of 2.4 kg of maize and 0.3 kg of dried pulses, giving a daily calorie intake of 9405 kcal. Zones listed as DA by the SAP will receive in addition to the normal ration 0.09 kg of oil with a calorific value of 10 209.5 kcal. The choice of ration is based on experience gained during the emergency operations carried out in South Madagascar during the major drought of 1991-92 and is in line with dietary habits.

Since WFP is already operating in a large part of the affected area, the Mission recommends that its FFW activities be intensified in liaison with other partners in the region, such as "The Relance du Sud" project, and the NGO German Agro Action. The table below gives the Missionís estimates concerning food requirements to cover FFW activities.

Table 5: Food Requirements for Intensified Food-for-work Activities

Sub-Prefecture  Total Population  Affected Population  Number of families  Man/days (5 days/mth)  Maize (tons)  Beans (tons)  Oil (tons)
Toliary II  12 593  3 777  630  9 450  22.7  2.8  -
Ampanihy  58 066  17 420  2 903  43 545  104.5  13.1  -
Beloha  31 805  9 541  1 590  23 850  57.2  7.2  -
Tsihombe (not DA)  73 937  22 181  3 697  55 455  133.1  16.6  5.0
Tsihombe (DA)  4 583  1 375  229  3 435  8.2  1.0  0.3
Ambovombe (not DA)  104 767  31 430  5 238  78 570  188.6  23.6  -
Ambovombe (DA)  119 126  35 738  5 956  89 340  214.4  26.8  8.1
Amboasary (not DA)  39 868  11 961  1 993  29 895  71.7  9.0  -
Amboasary (DA)  27 322  8 197  1 366  20 490  49.2  6.1  1.8
TOTAL  472 067  141 620  23 602  354 030  849.7  106.2  15.2
Given the volume of activities originally planned by WFP in this zone (408 tons of maize, 51 tons of dried pulses) and the available stock of oil (16 tons), the additional supply of 442 tons of maize and 55 tons of dried pulses is therefore necessary. Some regional purchases are possible and the cost of internal transport and handling is estimated at 90 dollars per ton. Warehousing capacities are sufficient since WFP has three warehouses with a total capacity of 2 100 tons

In addition to WFP activities, the Mission recommends sales at reduced prices to be organized in the most affected districts in the form of buffer stocks which would allow them to regulate cereal prices on local markets.

The CGDIS, which will be managing, from mid-September, 2 000 tons of rice donated by the Chinese Government, should, together with any other agencies, establish a delivery and sales plan. Nevertheless, the Mission considers that given the prices of commodities which are still very low on the local markets, it would be worthwhile waiting for the month of November before initiating this operation. The "Relance du Sud" project, for its part, has officially placed a request with the European Union for the purchase of 900 tons of maize to be sold at reduced prices in three phases of 300 tons each. In the context of the next agricultural season (1997/98), it would also be desirable for the CGDIS to study the possibility of supplying farmers with seeds.

In conclusion, the available food aid should be 971 tons for WFP, 2 000 tons for CGDIS and 900 tons for RDS, i.e. a total of 3 871 tons. However, knowing that this situation is due to the combined effects of locust invasion and drought, and that in case of the persistence of one or other of these problems, the situation could very quickly become alarming, the Mission suggests that, during October, an internal review be done in the light of the new SAP report and the nutrition and health information collected by the local technical services, the Swiss MSF, the SECALINE project and the medical NGO ASOS. Furthermore, the Mission recommends continuing the extension of the nutritional or health monitoring in the zones that have not yet been covered (the coastal zone of Amboasary, Tsihombe, Beloha, Ampanihy, Betioky, Tulear II).


This report is prepared on the responsibility of the FAO and WFP Secretariats with information from official and unofficial sources and is for official use only. Since conditions may change rapidly, please contact the undersigned for further information if required. 
Abdur Rashid 
M. Zejjari
Chief, GIEWS, FAO 
Director, OSA, WFP
Telex 610181 FAO I 
Telex: 626675 WFP 1
Fax: 0039-6-5705-4495 
Fax: 0039-6-6513-2839
E-mail:[email protected] 
E-Mail: [email protected]

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