Skip to main content

Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in the south due to lack of income-earning opportunities

  • Key Message Update
  • Malawi
  • May 2024
Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in the south due to lack of income-earning opportunities

Download the Report

  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is anticipated during the current outlook period in the southern districts of Malawi and some central districts that experienced the worst impacts of the prolonged El Niño–induced dry spells. However, several central Malawi districts are likely to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes due to increased income from sales of staple and cash crops. In northern Malawi, most households are expected to experience Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food security outcomes, supported by the average to above-average production of both food and cash crops. 
    • In southern Malawi, the impacts of El Niño resulted in significantly below-average income-earning opportunities and crop production, compounded by reductions in irrigated production. FEWS NET field assessments at the end of April confirmed that most households have started to apply crisis coping strategies due to significantly reduced income-earning opportunities from crop sales, labor, and petty trading, which normally provide poor and very poor households with incomes when they do not have enough food from their own production. Field assessments showed that 15 to 40 percent of households have no food from their own production in the immediate post-harvest period, further exacerbating acute food insecurity. 
    • The national average price for maize is 665 MWK per kilogram, representing a seasonal decrease of 13 percent compared with the previous month due to the recent harvests. Maize prices are 17 percent lower than at the same time last year but around 160 percent above the five-year average. Mitundu market, which is the national representative market, recorded the lowest price this month at 450 MWK per kilogram, indicating nearly 40 percent decrease compared to the previous month. The highest price was registered at Lilongwe and Lunzu markets, where maize sold for 900 MWK per kilogram, which is significantly higher than the national average. Prices of other alternative food crops such as beans and milled rice have either decreased or remained stable compared to the previous month but are trending at double the previous year’s prices. The national average price for beans is 2,907 MWK per kilogram, while milled rice is selling at an average of 2,006 MWK per kilogram, which is 3 percent higher than the previous month and double the five-year average.
    • The country’s macroeconomic situation is slightly improving, with the Kwacha stabilizing against the USD as the foreign currency reserve rose to an equivalent of 2.4 months of import cover in the reporting month thanks to increased income from tobacco auctions due to increased prices and sales. According to the Tobacco Commission, as of early May 2024, the volume of tobacco sold was 46 percent higher than at the same time last year, total income was 90 percent higher, and the average price per kilogram was 30 percent higher. However, the annual inflation rate remains high, around 32 percent in April, while the national month-to-month inflation rate for April 2024 has stabilized and is showing a slight decline.

    Recommended citation: FEWS NET. Malawi Key Message Update May 2024: Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in the south due to lack of income-earning opportunities, 2024.

    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.

    Get the latest food security updates in your inbox Sign up for emails

    The information provided on this Website is not official U.S. Government information and does not represent the views or positions of the U.S. Agency for International Development or the U.S. Government.

    Jump back to top