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Populations in several areas are facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Stressed (IPC Phase 2) acute food insecurity outcomes during the current harvest period. This is atypical because the harvest period is when households normally consume food from their own production. These outcomes are concentrated in the southern region, particularly among very poor and poor households in Lower Shire, Lake Chilwa-Phalombe Plain, and Middle Shire livelihood zones. Households in several districts in the south experienced complete crop failure and reduced income earning opportunities. Based on recent field assessments, poor households in these areas are relying on in-kind food assistance that ended in May and subsidized maize in ADMARC outlets. Households are facing livelihood protection and food deficits, and are employing unsustainable coping mechanisms including selling productive assets, stealing food, and taking children out of school.
Between March and April, national average prices for maize decreased by about 27 percent because of the increase in market supplies due to the newly harvested crop and a reduction in demand among households in the central and northern regions. Nonetheless, current maize prices are still quite high, and are at levels that are 53 percent above last year’s prices and 126 percent above the five-year average. FEWS NET price projections for maize show that prices will register a further decrease in May before starting to increase from June. Average prices for rice increased by about 7 percent between March and April. While bean prices were stable during this period, while cassava prices actually declined by 6 percent. Current prices for rice, beans, and cassava are all well above their respective five-year averages.
Cross border trade data and a recent field assessment confirmed that cereal availability within Malawi and in neighboring countries is much lower than normal. The volume of maize imports and exports in April were significantly below five-year average trends. Imported maize volumes were approximately half of normal volumes and exports were only a quarter of normal volumes.
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.