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As maize prices continue to rise, expected harvest should improve food access

  • Food Security Outlook
  • Malawi
  • January - July 2013
As maize prices continue to rise, expected harvest should improve food access

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  • Key Messages
  • National Overview
  • Areas of Concern
  • Other Areas of Concern
  • Events that Might Change the Outlook
  • Key Messages
    • Ongoing humanitarian response programming for 1.97 million food insecure people is underway in 16 districts in southern Malawi. There are reports of widespread sharing of food rations, which suggests that beneficiaries must access food through market purchases at some point during the month. 

    • Very high maize prices in local markets and limited ganyu are constraining household access to food through markets. FEWS NET projects that between January and March acute food insecurity outcomes are projected to be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) for poor households receiving assistance in 15 districts in the south, while in Chikhwawa district Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food insecurity outcomes are expected between January and March due to higher levels of mandatory ration sharing.

    • Despite a 20 day delay in the start of rains in southern Malawi, green harvests are still expected in March. Consumption of green foods in March and the expected harvests in April will improve food access among poor households and acute food insecurity will be Minimal (IPC Phase 1) for the remainder of the outlook period. The Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services (DoCCMS) forecast is calling for average rainfall for the remainder of the season, however there is still a chance of dry spells and flooding which could impact crop development.

    • Flooding due to heavy rainfall was reported in Salima, Mangochi, Phalombe and Nsanje districts in early January, but damage to cropped areas was minimal and  the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) is providing food and non-food assistance to affected households. 


    National Overview
    Current Situation

    The Government of Malawi (GoM) in partnership with the World Food Program  (WFP) and local and international NGOs are providing food assistance or cash transfers to the 1.97 million people identified as food insecure in 16 districts located in southern Malawi.  The GoM response plan for food insecurity in south is nearly fully-funded (98 percent) and the current shortfall is USD $1.7 million. Humanitarian assistance is expected to continue until the end of March. Additionally, some flooding due to heavy rainfall was reported in Salima, Mangochi, Phalombe and Nsanje districts in early January, but damage to cropped areas was minimal and the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) is providing food and non-food assistance to affected households.

    • As the lean period continues, maize markets remain functional throughout Malawi, including the southern region. In December 2012, the Agriculture Market Information System (AMIS) reported an average national retail maize price that was 79 percent higher than the average retail price in December 2011.
    • A rapid maize markets assessment by FEWS NET in December found that private traders were buying maize at high wholesale prices (ranging from MWK70 to 80/kg) in source markets as far away as Lilongwe, Mchinji, and Kasungu due to the depletion of maize stocks within southern Malawi households. A combination of high demand, far distances traveled and high fuel costs have all contributed to extremely high maize prices in the southern region.
    • When comparing 2011 and 2012 December prices, maize prices have increased by 86 percent in the southern region. Similarly, a comparison of 2011 and 2012 December maize prices in the northern region shows an increase of 91 percent. Year on year increases are normal during the lean period but the current increases are much higher due to the devaluation and continued depreciation of the Malawian Kwacha (MWK), the longer distances traveled to source markets, and high fuel costs. 
    • Anecdotal information from a FEWS NET rapid field assessment in December 2012 found that some beneficiary households are sharing as much as half of the rations received from the ongoing humanitarian response program. This supports a similar finding in the December 2012 Post Distribution Monitoring (PDM) report conducted by WFP that found that 100 percent of beneficiary households shared their food rations. The fact that assistance is being shared so widely means that poor households are exhausting their food rations before the end of the month, requiring them to buy food from local markets or ADMARC posts.
    • FEWS NET found that households that were relying on local markets for food must purchase grain from private traders because maize delivered to ADMARC posts sells out in one to three days. The assessment also found that on average most households were buying smaller maize quantities from private traders, ranging from two to five kilograms (kg), which could indicate reduced or atypical household consumption levels.
    • Total informal cross border (XBT) maize exports between April and December 2012 were at 22,812 MTs or 84 percent of the five-year average, in the presence of a national maize export ban.  Nearly all of the maize exports (above 90 percent) during this period were recorded at the two borders of Songwe and Mbirima, points that are located between Malawi and Tanzania, and as reported earlier these cross border activities involved transporting Malawian maize through Tanzania to Eastern Africa.
    • In terms of XBT imports, between April and December 2012 Malawi imported only 13,486 MTs or 33 percent of the average.  This figure of imports is as a result of bordering areas in Mozambique depleting their own stocks during the lean period. The XBT system recorded no maize imports at Muloza border since July 2012. This is a significantly anomaly because during a typical year up to 80 percent of the Maize imports come from Mozambique through this border.  There are anecdotal reports that Mozambican traders are purchasing maize in Malawi for sale in Mozambique.
    • The rainy season started about 20 days late for southern Malawi areas but was earlier in northern Malawi.  While the rainfall distribution has been variable, the crop situation was reported by The Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services (DoCCMS) and Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MoAFS) as good and ranged from the early vegetative stage to tasseling and cob formation, with weeding and fertilizer application being predominant farm activities across the country by mid-January.
    • The DoCCMS report showed that normal to above normal rainfall had been received since the start of the rainfall season in Malawi. The DoCCMS forecasts normal rainfall to persist until March when most crops mature. As January 20th, the DoCCMS has described this year’s rainfall as favorable to crop and pasture development.
    • After 75,000 MT was drawn down for humanitarian assistance, national maize stocks have been significantly depleted. Donors and the GoM are currently verifying the national maize stocks held in the strategic grain reserve (SGR).  While the final figures will be known after the assessment of stocks is completed, FEWS NET expects that if no more stocks are drawn down less than 20,000 MTs will likely be available at the end March. In late December 2012, ADMARC reported having a total maize stock of 1,643 MT national wide with 195 MT in the southern region, 726 MT in the central region and 723 MT in the northern region.
    National Level Assumptions

    Using updated humanitarian response information, projections for maize prices, ganyu availability, and updated weather forecasts, the food security outlook for January to June 2013 is based on the following national and regional level assumptions:

    Agroclimatology

    • According to DoCCMS forecasts, average rainfall is expected between January and March across the country. An increased occurrence of rainfall in December and January has resulted in flooding in the southern region. It is assumed that flooding will continue in low-lying areas throughout Malawi, but this is expected to minimally affect national crop production if damage to areas planted remains under five percent.
    • Despite the delayed start of the rainfall season in southern Malawi by about 20 days, it is expected that poor households in all the regions of the country will start harvesting their crops in April, as normal, and will start consuming their green harvests in March. This is because most poor households planted early maturing maize seed varieties distributed through the farmer input subsidy program.

    Markets and Trade

    • From January to March, it is expected that local markets in southern Malawi will continue to receive maize supplies from markets in the central and northern regions of the country. However, from April to June, it is expected that typical maize imports from Mozambique will start flowing again, assuming good production in Mozambique.
    • An additional nine percent depreciation in the value of the Malawi Kwacha (from the October-December 2012 average of about MWK320/USD) is expected between January and March. Due to the continued depreciation of the Kwacha, transport costs will remain high resulting in an increase in retail maize prices by an average of 30 percent in February. Rising retail maize prices are expected to continue to contribute to higher than normal prices for maize in the south (Figures 4 and 5).
    • A good tobacco harvest is expected during the second half of the outlook period, along with favorable prices on the international markets and the likelihood of more donors releasing promised foreign aid. The country’s depleted foreign reserves are likely to rebound allowing the GoM to buy key imports (including fuel among others), thereby putting an end to fuel shortages throughout the country. It is further assumed that with donor commitments trickling in, albeit slowly, the macro economic outlook should improve and therefore minimal further depreciation of the Kwacha should be expected from April to June.
    • The GoM has increased the MoAFS’s average minimum farmgate prices for maize from MWK35/kg to MWK60/kg, effective March 1, 2013. However, it is unlikely that the higher farmgate prices will impact April to June prices in source markets since prices are already well above the announced minimum prices (Figures 4 and 5). Some farmers may be able to negotiate better prices for their harvests in April, but traders are likely to still maintain significant bargaining power as many farmers spend more on food than they make by selling their production, and thus will need to sell large quantities at harvest time to cover other expenses. 
    • ADMARC is not expected to significantly enforce the new minimum prices due to budgetary constraints during the second half of the outlook period.

    Agricultural labor

    • Migratory ganyu opportunities to Mozambique in Mulanje, Thyolo, Phalombe, Chikhwawa and Nsanje districts will continue to be extremely limited during the January to March period as Mozambican officials continue to enforce informal trade restrictions until 2012/13 maize production levels are assessed.

    Humanitarian Assistance

    • Ninety-eight percent of the resources needed for the humanitarian response have been identified. The distribution of in-kind and cash-based assistance is expected through March. Flooding in areas in the south could damage roads, temporarily affecting the delivery of food assistance and impeding household ability to get to markets after receiving cash transfers.
    • The WFP PDM report for December shows that across all 16 districts beneficiary households are sharing their food rations. The report also states that during the last week of December about 76 percent of all the beneficiaries had finished their food rations. It is assumed that when beneficiary households deplete their rations, they are accessing food through market purchases using income earned from limited ganyu opportunities. Mandatory food sharing by village leaders was prevalent among 62 percent of beneficiaries in Chikhwawa district, suggesting that there are more non-beneficiary households in this district when compared to others that are unable to access food through markets due to limited household incomes.
    Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

    The national food security situation will vary throughout the outlook period. Between January and June, rural households in central and northern Malawi will continue to experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity by supplementing their food stocks through market purchases with income from agricultural casual labor.

    In southern Malawi, poor households’ food access will continue to be constrained by increasing maize prices, limited ganyu opportunities, limited maize supplies, further depreciation of the Malawi Kwacha, and rising transportation costs. Poor households in the 16 districts that were identified as food insecure will continue receiving humanitarian assistance distributions through March. In the presence of the assistance, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security outcomes are projected between January and March for 15 districts. During this period it is projected that poor households in Chikhwawa district will be one phase higher, experiencing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes, due to a higher level of mandatory sharing and extremely limited ganyu opportunities during the peak labor season.

    During the harvest period (April-June) rural households in southern, central, and northern Malawi are projected to have Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food insecurity outcomes. Despite flooding in Salima, Mangochi, Phalombe and Nsanje districts, the food security outlook for populations in these areas is not expected to change food security outcomes after March since the cropping areas damaged by the flood was under one percent. 


    Areas of Concern

    Lake Chilwa – Phalombe (PHA) Plain Livelihood Zone (Phalombe, and parts of Mulanje, Zomba, Machinga, and Chiradzulu  districts)

    Current Situation

    Based on information from earlier FEWS NET assessments, most poor households in PHA livelihood zone depleted their own production food supplies in July 2012 and have been depending on local markets since that time.  Current maize supply levels in this zone remain low due to depleted stocks in households and local markets, as well as those in Mozambique. As the lean season continues, traders that are sourcing maize from the central region are encountering high transaction costs due to longer transport distances and high fuel costs. In December 2012 maize prices in Phalombe district were on average 74 percent higher when compared to December 2011 prices, and 70 percent higher than the five-year average.   Between November and December 2012, average retail maize prices in Zomba market increased approximately 17 percent. When poor households buy maize they are using income earned through ganyu employment and by the sale of assets, including chickens. In this area, households in Phalombe district also depend on  migratory labor in Mozambique for a significant part of their household incomes, however these opportunities are extremely limited because of strict cross-border controls.

    Poor households in Machinga, Phalombe, Zomba, are currently receiving in-kind assistance and have been receiving assistance for the past three-five months. In-kind distributions in Chiradzulu district began in January. Cash-based assistance distributions started in Zomba district in September, and recently began in Mulanje districts in January.

    Despite a delay in the start of season of about 20 days, extremely heavy rainfall occurred in late December and January, causing some flooding in Phalombe district. The flooding affected 3,350 households and damaged 3,855 ha or one percent of cropped land in Phalombe district. The impact of the flooding on the food security outcomes of affected households is expected to be minimal and people are already receiving food and non-food assistance from the DoDMA.

    Assumptions

    In addition to the national assumptions described above, the following assumptions have been made about PHA livelihood zone:

    • Poor households have depleted food from their own production and will be largely dependent on local markets for food purchases.
    • Based on DoCCMs agroclimatic outlook reports, crop development in the area is okay and maize is at the development (tasseling and cobbing) stage. FEWS NET projects that there will be normal availability of the green harvest for consumption in March. 
    • Based on FEWS NET price projections, maize grain prices in PHA are expected to rise approximately 16 percent over the remainder of the consumption year (January-March) as a result of seasonal increases, additional transport costs associated with sourcing  grain mainly from central Malawi, and rising prices in source markets. From April to June prices are expected to drop slightly and follow the levels of the minimum farmgate prices. 
    Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

    Ongoing in-kind and cash-based humanitarian assistance in Machinga, Phalombe, Zomba, Mulanje, and Chiradzulu districts is expected to continue through March. This assistance has helped to reduce food deficits in food insecure households that have been targeted, however most households are still experiencing income deficits and are unable to  meet their livelihood protection needs. Following reports of widespread sharing of in-kind rations, most of the sharing in this livelihood zone is voluntary, and beneficiary households are able to access local ganyu to supplement any minor food gaps in-between assistance distributions. Generally, households receiving assistance are still unable to afford essential non-food expenditures and are finding it very difficult to maintain their current livelihoods. In the presence of humanitarian assistance the food insecurity outcomes for targeted households is expected to be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) during the peak of the lean period (January-March).

    Despite reports of flooding in Phalombe district, the impact of the flooding on the food security outcomes of affected households is expected to be minimal since less than one percent of the planted area was damaged. By early March the green harvest is expected to be available for consumption by households. As poor households begin to consume adequate food from their own harvest in April, acute food insecurity will likely to be Minimal level (IPC Phase 1) from between April and June.   

    Lower Shire (LSH) Livelihood zone  (Chikhwawa and Nsanje districts)

    Current Situation

    As the lean season continues, local markets are still functional and maize supplies continue to be transported from markets in the central region. Heavy rainfall occurred in early December and caused some flooding in low-lying areas which resulted in main roads between Chikhwawa and Nsanje districts being cut-off. As of late January, areas in Nsanje district have experienced flooding on three occasions over the past few months.  This flooding has resulted damage to households and some crops in Mlolo, affected 229 households and 384 ha of cropped land. Currently the affected households are being targeted for food, shelter and livelihood recovery interventions by the Department of Disaster Management Affairs. The population affected and cropped areas affected are under one percent. Further assessments on the impact of recent flooding in late January are ongoing.  

    According to a June 2012 Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) report, most poor households in LSH depleted their own food stocks in July 2012. Based on AMIS data, average maize prices in Nsanje market increased by 12 percent between November and December 2012, while retail prices rose by 21 percent in Chikhwawa. During a recent assessment FEWS NET found that consumers in this area were purchasing very small quantities of maize (approx. 5 kg or less) from private traders in local markets, implying very limited access to income for food purchases in local markets. FEWS NET also observed traders selling maize by volume or the use of small cups, instead of by weight or through the use of scales, suggesting that buyers are paying more for less maize. Food insecure households are coping by participating in petty trade, limited ganyu, and selling charcoal and firewood.  In the past migratory labor in Mozambique has been an option, but at this time these opportunities are not available. The current alternative livelihoods activities are not enough for most poor households to meet their basic food needs.

    Since August 2012 targeted households have relied on in-kind humanitarian assistance. Just over 99 percent of the humanitarian assistance received in this livelihood zone is in-kind, while the remaining is in the form of cash-transfers. A recent PDM report by the WFP shows that all beneficiaries were sharing their rations in December, however approximately 60 percent of the beneficiaries reported mandatory sharing being enforced by village leaders. When compared to other districts receiving humanitarian assistance, the reported level of mandatory ration sharing is highest in Chikhwawa district.

    Assumptions

    In addition to the national assumptions described above, the following assumptions have been made about LSH livelihood zone:

    • Poor households have depleted food from their own production and will be largely dependent on local markets for food purchases.
    • Based on FEWS NET price projections, maize grain prices in LSH are expected to rise approximately 11 percent over the remainder of the consumption year (January-March) as a result of seasonal increases, additional transport costs associated with sourcing  grain mainly from Lilongwe markets, and rising prices in source markets. From April to June prices are expected to drop slightly and follow the levels of the minimum farmgate prices.  
    • Very high levels of mandatory sharing will continue in Chikhwawa district between January and March, forcing beneficiaries to purchase maize in local markets in order to fill gaps in-between ration distributions. Food access through local markets will continue to be constrained for poor households due to the high retail maize prices.
    • Based on DoCCMS agroclimatic outlook reports, FEWS NET projects that the green harvests will be ready for consumption a few weeks later than normal, but within the month of April. Despite the delayed start of season in many parts of the livelihood zone, poor households will still be able to start harvesting in April. 
    •  Migratory labor opportunities in Mozambique will not be available between January and March due to limited household incomes in Mozambique following poor production last season. Local ganyu will continue to be extremely limited through January-March, but normal levels are likely to resume between April and June if the border areas in  Mozambique receive consistent rainfall and experience a good this harvest season.
    • Localized flooding will temporarily disrupt distribution of humanitarian assistance, and ADMARC and local market supplies during the rainy season.
    Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

    Based on updated FEWS NET price projections for the LSH from January-March, HEA outcome analysis for the zone shows that the poor wealth group is facing a survival deficit of 22 percent, even after extending their livelihood strategies and engaging in coping. FEWS NET projected that prices in LSH would be on average 97 percent above the five-year averages between January and March. Although this outcome analysis only found food deficits among poor households, based on discussions with district officials in Chikhwawa, FEWS NET assumes that it is likely that high maize prices in the area have began to affect middle-income households as well as the poor. This could be the reason behind why village leaders are requiring that beneficiary households share their rations. Since middle-income households are also experiencing food insecurity during this period, it is likely that they will not have enough cash to hire people for ganyu (i.e. weeding, etc), further contributing to inadequate ganyu opportunities for poor households in Chikhwawa.

    Between January and March FEWS NET projects that poor households in Chikhwawa district will be one phase higher than other districts receiving assistance, experiencing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes due to a higher level of mandatory sharing, high maize prices and extremely limited ganyu opportunities during the peak labor season. Poor households in Nsanje district that were identified as food insecure will continue receiving humanitarian assistance distributions through March. In the presence of the assistance, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security outcomes are projected for this district between January and March. From April to June, poor households will consume adequate food from their own produced in both districts once the harvest arrives in April. Adequate access to food from own stocks will result in Minimal Food Insecurity (IPC Phase 1) in LSH during the second half of the outlook period.

    Middle Shire (MSH) Livelihood Zone (Balaka, and parts of Zomba, Blantyre, Neno and Mwanza districts)

    Current Situation

    According to the June 2012 MVAC food security report, most poor households in the MSH depleted food stocks from their own production around September 2012. Under normal circumstances when better-off households have normal incomes from cash crop sales, some of this income is used to offer casual labor employment opportunities  to poor households in the MSH. However, due to poor 2011/12 cotton harvests, better-off households are unable to offer casual labor employment opportunities to poor households or they have had to cut-back substantially.  Currently some households are relying on alternative sources of income including off-farm activities like charcoal sales, small scale mining and quarry making. Since October 2012, poor households in Balaka, Neno and Mwanza have been receiving assistance either in the form of in-kind rations or cash transfers. The households that were not targeted for assistance are engaging in the sale of assets including small animals, selling charcoal and firewood, participating in casual labor, and some households are reportedly reducing the number and size of their meals. In December the Wellness and Agriculture for Life Advancement (WALA) project serving Balaka district found that the number of households consuming the less preferred diets of maize bran and boiled mangoes had doubled.

    Based on AMIS data, local maize prices in Lunzu market increased by 22 percent between November and December 2012, while retail prices rose by 5 percent in Balaka market. Traders in MSH are currently sourcing maize from markets in the central region.  A FEWS NET rapid markets assessment in December found that due to very high maize prices in local markets, consumers and some vendors have waited in long lines in order to purchase the lower priced (MWK60/kg) ADMARC maize. However, it was reported that a 17.5 MT delivery of maize might only last three days in ADMARC posts in these areas. The frequent stock outs at ADMARC posts, high prices, and the purchase of smaller quantities of maize (<5 kg) by households demonstrates that high maize prices are restricting household food access through local markets. 

    Assumptions

    In addition to the national assumptions described above, the following assumptions have been made about MSH livelihood zone:

    • Poor households have depleted food from their own production and will be largely dependent on local markets for food purchases.
    • Based on FEWS NET price projections, maize grain prices in MSH are expected to rise approximately 16 percent over the remainder of the consumption year (January-March) as a result of seasonal increases, additional transport costs associated with sourcing  grain mainly from the central region, and rising prices in source markets. From April to June prices are expected to drop slightly and follow the levels of the minimum farmgate prices. 
    • Limited ganyu opportunities for weeding and harvesting crops, including cotton, will be available throughout the outlook period.
    Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

    Based on updated FEWS NET price projections for the MSH from January-March, HEA outcome analysis for the zone shows that the poor wealth group is facing a survival deficit of 19 percent, even after extending their livelihood strategies and engaging in coping. Based on the provision of humanitarian assistance to poor households facing food gaps, FEWS NET projects that poor households in MSH will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) until assistance ends and the green harvest becomes available in late March. It is expected that from April to June poor households food insecurity will be Minimal (IPC Phase 1) as a result of improvements in the food security situation from own crop harvests.


    Other Areas of Concern

    Thyolo-Mulanje Tea Estates (TMT) Livelihood zone (part of Thyolo and Mulanje districts)

    The updated outcome analysis for both poor and middle income households in TMT livelihood zone estimates a survival deficit of 25 percent between January and March. Compared to the previous HEA outcome analysis completed in October, this deficit is slightly higher due to increasing maize prices. Market access has been limited because of high maize prices and limited ganyu opportunities on the tea estates because of the late start of season. Between November and December 2012 maize prices in Muloza market increased by 16 percent. Since districts in this livelihood zone were identified as being food insecure much later than others, humanitarian assistance programming (both in-kind and cash transfers) have only recently started in January. It is expected that tea picking opportunities will begin to peak between January and March, and income from this and other activities will allow households to meet their livelihood protection needs. FEWS NET projects that between January and March food insecurity outcomes in these areas will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2), in the presence of assistance. The food security situation is expected to improve further once harvesting begins in April.  From April to June poor and middle-income households will be able to access food from their own produced crops food insecurity will be Minimal (IPC Phase 1).

    Shire Highlands (SHI) Livelihood zone (parts of Chiradzulu, Thyolo, and Blantyre districts)

    Outcome analysis for poor households in the SHI livelihood zone estimates a survival deficit of  22 between January and March.  This is a slight increase compared to the outcome analysis the FEWS NET completed in October 2012, and this change is a result of increasing food prices in local markets in this livelihood zone.  Based on AMIS data, local maize prices in Bvumbe market increased by 27 percent between November and December 2012. FEWS NET price projections show that maize grain prices in SHI are expected to rise approximately 26 percent over the remainder of the consumption year (January-March) as a result of seasonal increases, additional transport costs associated with sourcing  grain mainly from the central region, and rising prices in source markets. From April to June prices are expected to drop slightly and follow the levels of the minimum farmgate prices. Both in-kind and cash based humanitarian assistance has been ongoing in SHI since December 2012.  FEWS NET projects that food insecurity will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) with humanitarian assistance during the first half of the outlook period.  However increasing food stocks from the harvest in April is expected to improve household food access and food insecurity will be Minimal (IPC Phase 1) between April and June.  

    Rift Valley (RFT) Livelihood zone (parts of Salima, Dedza, Neno, and Ntcheu district)

    The updated outcome analysis for poor households in RFT livelihood zone estimates a survival deficit of 10 percent. This is a significant increase when compared to the estimated 2 percent survival deficit in October. This is due to the increasing food prices in local markets in RFT. According to AMIS data, local maize prices in Ntonda market increased by 20 percent between November and December 2012, while retail prices rose by only 2 percent in Mwanza market. FEWS NET price projections show that maize grain prices in RFT are expected to rise approximately 18 percent over the remainder of the consumption year (January-March) as a result of seasonal increases, additional transport costs associated with sourcing  grain mainly from the central region, and rising prices in source markets. In-kind humanitarian assistance has been underway since November 2012 and will continue through March 2013. Between January and March, humanitarian assistance will likely mitigate food  deficits and households will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2). The food security situation is expected to improve when the harvests become available in April and poor household food insecurity will be Minimal (IPC Phase 1).  


    Events that Might Change the Outlook

    Area

    Event

    Impact on food security outcomes

    All zones

    Significant fuel shortages across the country in January to March.

    This would undermine trader’s ability to move maize from source to consumer markets in southern Malawi especially from January to March.

    All zones

    Low tobacco earnings due to uncertain weather conditions and low international market prices.

    Low tobacco earnings could worsen the macro-economic conditions .

    All zones

    Wide spread dry spells.

     

    Dry spells could affect the availability of green harvests in end late March or early April, resulting in significant food deficits after humanitarian assistance ends and before harvests are available.

    All zones

    ADMARC maize supplies consistently reach markets in the southern region and subsidized prices remain at MWK60/kg.

    The availability of cheaper maize through ADMARC posts would improve household food access and food insecurity outcomes.  

    Chikhwawa district

    Additional humanitarian assistance is provided to cover middle-income households that are food insecure.

    Food insecurity outcomes would improve in Chikhwawa district and distributed rations would provide adequate coverage to targeted households.

    Figures Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal Calendar for a Typical Year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Current food security outcomes, January 2013.

    Figure 2

    Current food security outcomes, January 2013.

    Source: FEWS NET

    Projected retail maize prices (MWK/kg).

    Figure 3

    Projected retail maize prices (MWK/kg).

    Source: FEWS NET

    Projected retail maize prices (MWK/kg).

    Figure 4

    Projected retail maize prices (MWK/kg).

    Source: FEWS NET

    To project food security outcomes, FEWS NET develops a set of assumptions about likely events, their effects, and the probable responses of various actors. FEWS NET analyzes these assumptions in the context of current conditions and local livelihoods to arrive at a most likely scenario for the coming eight months. Learn more here.

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