In Madagascar, WFP is addressing food security and malnutrition challenges through a development-oriented Country Programme, and a Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation which provides a response to shocks and natural disasters. In 2013, WFP targeted almost one million vulnerable people in remote, food-insecure areas of the south, in cyclone- prone cyclone regions mainly along the eastern coastline, and in the island’s urban slum areas.
1) The Country Programme (Development) has three components:
- Support to basic education through a school meals programme. This initiative encourages children to attend school and helps reduce dropout rates, especially during the lean season. School meals have been found to improve students’ academic performance while the addition of micro-nutrients helps boost their nutritional status.
- Mitigation of natural disasters and environmental protection through food-for-assets programmes. These activities target those communities which are most exposed to the impacts of climate change and degradation of the environment. Activities focus on reforestation, mitigation of sand dune invasion of agricultural land and the construction of water catchment systems to improve access to water.
- Fight against malnutrition, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. WFP provides supplementary feeding to prevent malnutrition among pregnant and nursing women, and children under the age of two in the south of Madagascar. It also gives nutritional support to tuberculosis and HIV-AIDS patients so they can get the most out of their medical treatment.
2) Protracted Relief and Recovery Operations (Response to natural disasters) This operation addresses the food needs of vulnerable households in disaster-affected areas, mainly in the south and along the eastern coastline. Under it, WFP provides relief assistance to affected communities by means of general food distributions while supporting early recovery through food-for-assets and cash-for-assets programmes. Food-for-assets programmes help disaster-affected communities rebuild their lives and restore their livelihoods while cash transfers enable them to purchase their own commodities where markets conditions are favorable. In this way, farmers are less likely to see their produce at a low price during harvest time and, in cyclone-prone areas, have more food in stock ahead of the cyclone season. Promoting local purchase Since 2009, WFP has implemented a local food purchase policy, mainly in relation to maize and pulses. From 2009 to 2012, the quantity of food commodities purchased by WFP in Madagascar rose from 490 metric tons to 3,500 MT. By promoting the purchase of food from small-holder farmers’ associations in the south of the island, WFP seeks to stimulate local agriculture and boost the economy of that region.