From the 7 to 11 of November, the European Union (EU) led a mission of the Food Assistance Convention to Madagascar, attended by representatives from the United States, Finland, Japan and Luxembourg. The EU serves as the chair of the Convention for 2022.
The objective of the visit was to observe the evolution of food security and nutrition in the Grand Sud in recent months, in the context of an ongoing drought, and unprecedented global food insecurity, aggravated by the ripple effects of the Russian invasion in Ukraine. The mission also aimed to draw on lessons learned from recent humanitarian interventions in Madagascar, which helped to avert a famine in the country, and to explore the potential for innovative approaches, such as anticipatory action, and move Madagascar further into the development space.
The delegation visited the regions of Anosy and Androy, where they were able to observe many humanitarian and development interventions and meet with technical and financial partners, members of the Administration and people affected by the crisis.
Back in Antananarivo, the mission presented its observations and recommendations to a representation of members of the Government, including the Minister of Agriculture H.E. Mr. Harifidy Ramilison, as well as national and international technical and financial partners, during a debrief meeting chaired by the Ambassador of the European Union, Mrs. Isabelle Delattre-Burger.
"The nutritional and food security situation has improved significantly compared to previous months, but the region remains fragile, and several factors can affect this situation at any time, such as delays in the rains or pest invasions", noted the members of the mission.
The mission spoke of Madagascar's long-standing commitment to nutrition, and shared its findings on the visited areas, which " gave us a clear example of how an unsustainable use of natural resources can lead to situations of food and nutritional vulnerability”. The presence or absence of water seems to be the main factor determining the living conditions of populations, with sometimes striking differences from one community to another.
They highlighted three key elements to reverse this situation of fragility in the Grand Sud:
1. Support access to water and improve its management, relying on both “high-tech” and “low-tech” solutions and fully involving communities.
2. Strengthen the integration and establishment of a multi-sectoral early warning mechanism allowing the implementation of adequate anticipatory actions to mitigate the negative effects of shocks;
3. Make available agricultural extension services, which remain rather limited, and integrate them into agro-ecological approaches and effective partnerships with the private sector.
Among its recommendations, the mission called for better communication and coordination between the interventions of the different factors, encouraged the government to facilitate the operationalization of existing strategic documents, and proposed the adoption of nexus approaches to facilitate the sequencing, complementarity, synergy and effectiveness of humanitarian and development actions. The mission also emphasized the need to take into account people with special needs in their interventions, such as persons with disabilities. Furthermore, better listening and accountability to populations affected seems to be necessary to put people and their multiple needs back at the center.
International Grains Council