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Planned humanitarian assistance to prevent food security Crisis and Emergency

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Malawi
  • November 2012
Planned humanitarian assistance to prevent food security Crisis and Emergency

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  • Key Messages
  • Current Situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected Outcomes through March 2013
  • Key Messages
    • Most of the resources necessary to respond to the estimated 1.97 million people identified as food insecure in recent MVAC assessments have been secured and humanitarian assistance is expected to continue as planned through March 2013. This improved assistance outlook is likely to prevent Crisis and Emergency food insecurity outcomes initially projected for the south for January-March 2013. 

    • Households currently receiving assistance are expected to be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) throughout the outlook period. Households that are only receiving assistance from  January to March will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) between November and December, and Stressed (IPC Phase 2) from January to March, in the presence of assistance. 

    • In late October and early November rains started in some parts of the country. Planting has been reported in only a few districts in the south, north, and central regions.


    Current Situation
    •  The Government of Malawi (GoM) recently pledged to release 47,600 MT of maize from their Strategic Grain Reserve (SGR)  to the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) and the World Food Program (WFP) in order to cover all maize requirements for their humanitarian assistance response plan through March 2013. The cash-based assistance portion of this plan (which will cover food needs equivalent to 6,772 MT) and other complimentary humanitarian assistance programs will ensure that almost all of the assistance gaps for  the 1.97 million people facing food insecurity in the southern region are covered.
    • An additional 15,000 MT of maize will be released to the Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (ADMARC), a government owned grain marketing board and source of subsidized maize in southern Malawi. 
    • Currently, the response program has reported a funding gap of $1.5 million for logistical costs,  down from an estimated $23 million reported in October.
    • The October MVAC updated assessment identified food insecure populations, previously thought to be food secure,  in parts of Chiradzulu district which falls under Lake Chilwa-Phalombe Lake and Shire Highlands livelihood zones. Humanitarian assistance is scheduled to start in these areas in December and continue through March 2013. After two months of delay, households in Mwanza district began receiving distributions in November.
    • Overall, national average maize prices continued to increase. Average maize prices rose by approximately 5 percent from MKW55.81/kg in September to MKW58.55/kg in October. Maize in markets in the north registered a 4.85 percent increase, central markets experienced a 3.50 percent increase during this period, while prices in the south remained the highest at  MKW67.50/kg in October, up 4 percent from MKW64.87/kg in September.
    • Informal cross-border activity levels continue to decline. Compared to last year import levels between April and October are only 61 percent of 2011 levels during this same period. Informal maize exports levels are lower when compared to this same period last year, indicating in-country stock shortages.
    • Food insecurity in the areas of southern Malawi and parts of central Malawi where humanitarian assistance has started is currently Stressed (IPC Phase 2), while households are experiencing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity outcomes in the areas where assistance has not yet started.  

    Updated Assumptions

    The current situation has changed the national assumptions used to develop FEWS NET’s most likely scenario for the period of October 2012 to March 2013. The updated assumptions (see below) are expected to change the projected food security outcomes for the outlook period. A full discussion of the scenario is available in the October Outlook

    • In the October Outlook it was assumed that assistance that is currently underway in districts in Middle Shire, Lower Shire, and Lake Chilwa-Phalombe Plain Livelihood zones would likely end after November due to inadequate funding. In November, the DoDMA and WFP response program secured adequate resources to cover the needs of food insecure populations identified in the MVAC June report and additional populations identified in the October report. It is now likely that the distribution of assistance in these areas will continue through March 2013. In addition to these areas, districts in Thyolo Mulanje Tea Estates and Shire Highlands livelihood zones have been added to the response plan and will start receiving assistance in December and January.
    • Previously, it was assumed that ADMARC maize supplies in the south would continue to be intermittent throughout the oulook period due to dwindling stocks. In November the GoM authorized the release of 15,000 MT to ADMARC for sale at the subsidized price of MWK60/kg in deficit areas in the south. This release of stock is expected to have a stabilizing affect on general prices in local markets. 

    Projected Outcomes through March 2013
    • The national food security situation will remain varied throughout the outlook period. Rural households in central and northern Malawi will maintain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity by supplementing their food stocks through market purchases with income from casual labor. In southern Malawi, poor household food access will continue to be constrained by increasing maize prices, limited maize supplies, further depreciation of the currency exchange rate, and rising transportation costs. In general, households in the south are currently at Stressed (IPC Phase 2) levels with assistance and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels in the absence of assistance. 
    • Middle Shire, Lower Shire, and Lake Chilwa-Phalombe Plain Livelihood zone: With most humanitarian assistance needs secured, food insecurity outcomes  in Chikhwawa, Machinga, Nsanje, Balaka, Blantyre, Neno, Ntcheu, Phalombe and Zomba districts  have changed and are expected to remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2), in the presence of assistance, between November and March 2013. Since Mwanza district just began receiving assistance after a two month delay, the area is currently experiencing a Crisis (IPC Phase 3), however in the presence of assistance Stressed food insecurity outcomes are projected for this area between January and March.
    • Thyolo-Mulanje Tea Estates Livelihood zone: Poor and middle income households are currently experiencing a food security Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and this is expected to continue until the start of humanitarian assistance in Mulanje and Thyolo districts in January. Between January and March households will be Stressed, in the presence of assistance.
    • Shire Highlands Livelihood zone: Areas of concern in this livelihood zone are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and were originally not scheduled to receive humanitarian assistance during this consumption year. Now that areas in Chiradzulu and Thyolo district will start receiving assistance in December and January, respectively, households in these areas are projected to be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) from January to March with humanitarian assistance.
    • Rift Valley Livelihood zone: The areas of major food security concern are Chipoka in Salima district, Mtakataka in Dedza district, Lisungwi in Neno district, and Kandeu and Manjawira in Ntcheu district. Humanitarian assistance in the form of in-kind food assistance in Neno district is on-going, while assistance in Salima and Dedza districts is planned to begin in December. Between January and March, humanitarian assistance will continue to mitigate food deficits, leaving households Stressed (IPC Phase 2).  
    Figures Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    This Food Security Outlook Update provides an analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography over the next six months. Learn more here.

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