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Enhanced February and March rainfall improves water resources, soil moisture reserves, and pasture availability

  • Key Message Update
  • Malawi
  • March 2018
Enhanced February and March rainfall improves water resources, soil moisture reserves, and pasture availability

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • According to the latest Agrometeorological Bulletin, increased rainfall in February and March has improved soil moisture reserves, water resources, and pasture availability across the country. CHIRPS crop monitoring data shows that rain improved in February and that average rainfall in the southern (78.64 mm compared to 63.96 mm) and central (85.29 mm compared to 78.16 mm) region is now above the short-term mean.  Short-term forecasts indicate that scattered rain is expected in late March, so farmers are encouraged to start preparing for winter cropping.

    • The improved rainfall performance has led to revitalization in some crops, but below-average production is still expected for the 2018 season due to lack of adequate rains during critical crop growing periods earlier this season. Areas in northern Malawi have been receiving adequate rains throughout the season and will likely achieve average to above average production.

    • Based on data from the Ministry of Agriculture Market Information System (AMIS) the average price for maize grain in twelve markets monitored by FEWS NET increased by about 17 percent between January and February. It is the peak of the lean season, and although most households are consuming food from own production an increasing number of households are relying more on food purchases during March.  Speculative trader behavior is also driving some price increases due to the poor early season rains and dryness.

    • During the remainder of the Outlook period, favorable food security conditions continue to prevail across with the country as food insecure households in parts of the southern region are benefitting from humanitarian assistance. In all three regions of the country households are accessing food from green consumption and early harvests. Current food security outcomes are at Minimal (IPC Phase 1!) in the presence of humanitarian assistance in the extreme south, and Minimal (IPC Phase 1) for the rest of the country. Minimal and Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected persist in the post-harvest period up to end of September 2018.

    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.

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