Southern Madagascar on the Brink of Famine as Farming Grinds to a Slow Halt

Following consecutive droughts and sandstorms which have affected farm yields, Southern Madagascar may be on the edge as it struggles to keep citizens alive.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) warned on Friday that the ruins of harvests may lead to a nutritional problem in the Island nation.

Speaking from the Madagascan capital city, Antananarivo, Amer Daoudi, senior director of WFP said the problem has gotten out of hand as locals have now resorted to eating leaves and locusts.

He said the horrible sights in southern Madagascar are the worst he’s seen in a long time in the world.

A five-year drought, coupled with sandstorm and late rains in March 2021 has seen malnutrition increase by almost double from 9% to 16%.

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The WFP has sought an emergency funding to save the region from famine, as it said it needs at least $75million to save the current situation.

Africa largely depends on rainfall for the growth and harvest of its crops but in the face of extreme weather conditions and more consistent droughts, there’s a sharp drop in food production.

Madagascar, an Island nation is not left out in the trouble as it battles poor yields as a result of an uncooperative climate and geographical limitations.

The FAO said Madagascar is particularly subject to extreme weather conditions such as cyclones, floods and droughts, all of which are intensifying with climate change. Smallholder farmers make up approximately 70 percent of the Malagasy population, and the challenges of farming in southern Madagascar’s dry, semi-arid climate are exacerbated by recurrent droughts, strong winds and silting. Poor harvests as a result of climate extremes create a vicious cycle of poverty.

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The country also has one of the highest poverty rates in the world with 75% of its population living in less than $1.25 a day, the international threshold for poverty.

Since 2014, Southern Madagascar has missed out on three farming seasons due to terrible droughts. This has subjected locals to feeding on extremes, like red cactus plants and selling their animals for breadcrumbs.

There are many other countries on the continent which have seen low precipitation affecting their yields and keeping their people in hunger, angry and impoverished.

Locals and African traditionalists and technology-savvy scientists have been advised to look at modern technology and other means of finding rainfall.

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