HEALTH

Madagascar : undernutrition in a farming nation

 

« Wealthy but Poor », this paradox has always been mentionned in the midst of economic development debates about Madagascar mostly in mining sector.  Indeed, there is everything to revive the economy but another aporia is  rooted in the country’s social life : « undernutrition in a farming nation ». 

 

With 414 150 km2 of agricultural land in 2014, so approximately 71,2 % of its area ;  Madagascar is among the top 20  agricultural countries in the world however, the country ranks at 9 out of 116  regarding undernourishment in 2016.

 

6th African country to suffer from undernourishment

Rice is the first staple food for Malagasy people and Madagacar has made continuous efforts to improve its production. It has doubled its rice field area of 1961 to produce  2 368 000 Tons of milled rice in 2016. As a result, the country holds the 19th place of rice producing countries in the world and 2nd place in Africa behind Nigeria.

Nevertheless, after Zambia, Central African Republic, Namibia, Chad and Zimbabwe, Madagascar is the 6th african country to sufffer from undernutrition.   Statistics of year 2016 shew that more than eight millions people were undernourished, representing one third of the whole population. While 1800 Kcal per day is necessary for a person to be healthy, the intensity of food deprivation is about 229kcal/person/day.  The daily average food deficit is about 8 kcal per person for those undernourrished, a despicable statistics for a country which has a high rice self sufficiency rate of 96,6 %. 

 

Alarming level of hunger

Almost 8 222 200 persons  are surviving rather than living,  this  part of the population has hunger hanging over their head. In 2016, Madagascar’s Global Hunger Index scored 35,4 points and though it has improved 9,2 points compared to 1992’s,  scores have fallen within the « alarming » level for 24 years.  According to World Life Expectancy,  malnutrition death rate is of about 36,64 / 100 000 persons, this is considered as high.  3,35 % of deaths occuring in Madagascar is due to malnutrition,  it’ s the 7th cause of death.  

 

Unaccessible food production

Latest World Bank data show that Madagascar ranked at the 81 place referring to its Food Production Index of about 120,6 in 2013. As a developing country, the main challenge for Madagascar is to raise a great part of its population above global poverty line in order to eradicate undernutrition. Besides, income inequality has increased the gap between purchasing power which consequently divided the population.

Micronutrient availability, protein quality and diet diversification are still other challenges into which the country has to bring improvement.   Climate change has often been mentionned as an obstacle to agriculture in Madagascar and this could explain its low level of Food Security Index, 31,6 out of 100 in 2016. Waiting for long term solution initiatives  ...

Published on Friday, 10 March 2017 15:28
Written by F. RAFIDIHARINIRINA