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Southern Madagascar’s worsening food insecurity

 

Photo credit: FAO

Southern Madagascar has been hit by consecutive droughts

UN food agencies call for urgent action to address southern Madagascar’s worsening food insecurity

$67 million needed in food aid and farming support for upcoming planting season

FAO/WFP Joint News Release

Farmers in southern Madagascar, hit by three years of devastating drought, urgently need more support so they can plant crops in time for the December and January planting seasons, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) said today.

They stressed that more funding is required to provide this support and help address southern Madagascar’s worsening food insecurity.

FAO will start distributing plant cuttings and seeds next month, targeting some 170,000 farming families in the most food-insecure districts of the south. At the same time, these same families will receive food or cash as part of an ongoing WFP relief programme so they can sustain themselves until the next harvest in March/April. WFP has been distributing food to people in the areas of greatest need since June and cash in places with functioning markets since July.

“The planting season offers a small window of opportunity for local farmers to restore agricultural production. Thousands of families are already facing hunger. Missing the planting season now will result in a serious food and livelihood crisis, and render their situation even more desperate,” says José Graziano da Silva, FAO Director-General.

Some 850,000 people – about half the population of the south – are facing hunger and need urgent humanitarian assistance, according to latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) findings. These indicate that food and nutrition security could deteriorate even further in coming months unless humanitarian action is rapidly scaled up. Overall, some 1.4 million people are estimated to be food insecure in 2016/17 in the three southern regions of the island.

FAO is sourcing sweet potato and cassava cuttings as well as a variety of drought-tolerant seeds for smallholder farmers to plant. Tools will also be distributed and support offered to families with livestock.

Read the full article: FAO

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.