By the numbers:
- Population: 25 million in 2016
- 78 percent of people live in poverty
- 1 in 4 people lives in areas highly prone to natural disasters
- 7 out of 10 small-scale farmers own no more than 3 acres of land
Despite vast potential, Madagascar has experienced a stagnation in per capita income coupled with a rise in poverty over the past few decades. Nearly 80 percent of people live on less than $2 per day.
Madagascar has experienced several political crises since independence in 1960. The latest—between 2009 and 2013—negatively affected government institutional capacity, economic growth and social development efforts. It also reduced vulnerable people’s access to basic services and their ability to prevent and recover from frequent climate shocks.
Madagascar is built on farming, fishing and forestry, yet it’s one of the 10 countries most vulnerable to natural disasters, which greatly impact communities’ food and nutrition security. Six million people live in areas that are highly susceptible to cyclones, floods or drought. These risks are exacerbated by deforestation, climate change and this year’s historic El Niño phenomenon. Other drivers of hunger include limited access to credit and markets, gender inequality, poor farming and post-harvest techniques, and inadequate natural resources management.
As of October 2017, 1.6 million people were estimated to be severely food insecure and 393,000 of them were in “emergency condition.”
WFP in Madagascar addresses food security and malnutrition challenges through both development programs and emergency operations:
School meals – WFP supports 296,000 children with meals in the classroom, which is particularly significant for kids coming from food-insecure families impacted by drought or the lean season. The UN agency supports the Government in piloting a homegrown school meals program, linking schools to the harvest of small-scale farmers. The Ministry of Education now provides meals to 20,000 children from 60 primary schools in the south that were previously assisted by WFP. The Government is developing a national school meals policy based on the homegrown model with technical assistance from WFP. This will pave the way for a handover of the entire school meals program to the Government.
Nutrition – WFP provides supplementary food for moderate acute malnutrition prevention to 35,500 children under the age of five and pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.
Market access for small-scale farmers – Based on WFP’s Purchase for Progress (P4P) initiative, the UN agency continues to support farmers—along with the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the Food and Agriculture Organization—so they can get access to agricultural markets. Farmer organizations receive technical assistance and are provided with high-quality seeds, enabling them to sell surplus crops to WFP. Four thousand farmers in the south benefit from P4P in Madagascar.
Emergency operations – WFP is largely present in the drought-affected southern part of the country. It aims to provide relief assistance to disaster-affected and food-insecure communities, increase their resilience to shocks, and strengthen national capacity for disaster preparedness and response. WFP also provides cash-for-training programs for 7,800 vulnerable young people in the food-insecure areas of Antananarivo, Ambovombe and Tuléar.