UN: UN agencies warn of deteriorating food security in southern Madagascar

New York, US (PANA) - Leading UN food agencies on Wednesday warned that 46 per cent
of the population in eight regions of Madagascar, about 1.9 million people, are
food insecure, including 450,000 people who face chronic food insecurity.

The UN agencies also announced deliverance of a number of programmes in the country
with an aim to eliminate hunger, improve nutrition, promote sustainable agriculture and
contribute to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 2 of the recently adopted Agenda

According to the Crop and Security Assessment Mission (CFSAM), an assessment by
the Government of Madagascar, UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World
Food Programme (WFP), the highest food insecurity rates were found in the island's
drought-hit southern regions of Androy, Anosy and Atsimo Andrefana where 380,000
people, totalling 30 percent of the population, are severely affected.

In a statement on the situation in Southern Madagascar, Mr. Patrice Talla Takoukam, FAO Representative in Madagascar, said: "The current situation requires real action
from a range of actors to help vulnerable people recover and to avert a deterioration
in the food security situation."

He noted that the recent food security assessments have not of themselves been
sufficient to address the crisis.

The UN agencies said that a significant decrease in food production during the past
three agricultural seasons, due to recurrent shortage of rainfall, has been the cause
for food insecurity in the region.

They reported that many households were resorting to negative coping strategies,
such as sale of assets, reducing their number of daily meals, withdrawing children
from school and consuming wild foods such as cactus fruit.

Also, WFP Country Director in Madagascar, Mr. Willem Van Milink said: "When
households adopt negative coping strategies, their resilience to shocks decreases,
and continuing assistance is crucial not only for communities to have adequate
food consumption during the lean season, but also so they can regain their
livelihoods and increase their resilience to shocks."

WFP said that it will assist 130,000 of the most vulnerable people in five
districts through food- or cash-for-assets programmes, starting from November
and continuing until the next harvest which is due in February.

It disclosed that such programmes are designed to help communities to build
resilience and prepare for the next harvest season.

The UN agency also said that the households that are unable to work will be
supported through food distributions.

To treat and prevent malnutrition, WFP has said that it would provide supplementary
feeding to pregnant women, nursing mothers and to children less than two years
of age.

On its part, FAO said that it has distributed improved drought-resistant
seeds as an emergency response measure in the agricultural sector.

"The seeds will help in replanting of more than 6,000 hectares of land
and help ensure food availability for 13,000 households in Anosy and Androy
regions," it said

Crops and pasture in 2013 and early 2014 were affected by a plague which has
now been eradicated with support from the Malagasy government and donors
under a three-year locust eradication programme.

In addition, WFP said it has supported national efforts to treat moderate acute
malnutrition among 7,000 children. In early October, a WFP-chartered plane
airlifted nutritional supplements to Madagascar's capital, Antananarivo.

"This will be used in state-run nutrition centres to fight increasing levels of
acute and moderate malnutrition among children aged less than five years in
the south of the country," the agency said.
-0-   PANA   AA/AR  28Oct2015

28 october 2015 15:18:59

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