This year, Southern Africa experienced an El Nino-induced drought that created severe disproportion of food security for many households in the area.
According to UNOCHA, the subsequent April 2016 harvest proved insufficient, with regional maize production shortfall of 9.3 million tons. UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) noted that there are significant gaps in seed availability in the formal marker regionally, especially Madagascar.
Madagascar is currently facing its third consecutive year of drought, which has sparked the immediate attention of the World Food Programme (WFP). According to research conducted by WFP, four out of nine southern districts of Madagascar, including Tsihombe district, are likely to fall into the emergency classification by year’s end. Further, three more districts could follow unless swift, sustainable immediate action is taken.
WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin noted the potential severity of the situation, citing that the hunger and malnutrition in the area is the result of three years of ruined harvests. “We must receive the necessary funding to respond before it’s too late. This funding will also allow us to invest in people’s livelihoods, so we don’t just save lives but change lives and break the cycle of emergency response.” She added.
WFP further noted that four in ten households in the South of Madagascar have already consumed their vital seed stocks, leaving little to nothing for the November/December planting season. One in three households in the island have assigned to more severe measures, such as migrating, selling their land or begging.
To create more sustainable food security in the area WFP will scale up from November to reach as much as one million people with food and cash assistance. It will also be expanding its programme to prevent and treat malnutrition related illnesses among over 200 000 pregnant and nursing women, and children under five years of age.
WFP will also be collaborating with Madagascar’s government, UNICEF and The World Bank to facilitate a school meals programme for children attending government schools – to receive a healthy nutritious meal during this extreme season. However, the organization requires 92 million Dollars from this month to the end of March this year, and faces a shortfall of 78.5 million.
However, through the existing collaboration with government, The World Bank and UNICEF, the food relief programme could create a sustainable manner of aid in the region, further creating an opportunity for sustainable sustenance farming for communities facing the brunt of El Nino stricken drought.