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Below-average rainfall has been mostly experienced across the country, contributing to moisture deficits and poor vegetation conditions in the central and southern regions. Nonetheless, mostly favorable food security conditions are prevailing across the country. Most households are still consuming food from their own production because of last year’s above-average harvest. Poorer households without food are easily accessing food through incomes obtained by agricultural labor which is readily available in a season where there is less competition for labor and wages have remained high. Below-average staple prices has improved the purchasing power for those household relying on market purchases.
In the presence of assistance that is planned, funded, and likely, FEWS NET expects Minimal (IPC Phase 1!) outcomes in Nsanje and Balaka between January and March 2018. In Chikwawa and Mwanza districts, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected in January, but once assistance begins in these areas, outcomes will improve to Minimal (IPC Phase 1!) from February to March.
According to Agriculture Extension and Technical Services of the Ministry of Agriculture, approximately 270,000 hectares of rainfed maize, sorghum, and millet has been infested by the fall armyworm (FAW) during the main cropping season as of January 12th. FAW has been reported in most agricultural zones across the country. Information is still forthcoming about the magnitude of the infestation within the northern, central, and southern regions, but so far FAW infestation rates have been calculated for 14 districts. National FAW monitoring and surveillance is continuing through farmer FAW management and control, as well as pesticide handling trainings.
Observations and interviews undertaken by FEWS NET during a field assessment in January indicated that FAW control efforts are effectively controlling FAW in several districts in the southern, central, and northern regions, and should help to reduce crop yield losses to the pest.
This Key Message Update provides a high-level 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. Learn more here.