Key Message Update

Favorable food security persists across most of the country

September 2020

September 2020

October 2020 - January 2021

IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
National Parks/Reserves
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
National Parks/Reserves
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

Presence countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
National Parks/Reserves
Remote monitoring
countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

Key Messages

  • Most rural households continue to consume food from own production supplemented by market purchases, with Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes expected to persist across most of the country through at least January 2021. However, in the southern districts of Nsanje, Balaka, and Neno—as well as some localized parts of Machinga, Blantyre, and Chikwawa in southern Malawi and Salima in central Malawi—an increased number of households are expected to begin facing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food security outcomes in October and transition to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes in the December to January 2021 period. These areas were impacted by localized production shortfalls due to poor rainfall performance.

  • In August and September, a decrease in the number of new reported COVID-19 cases led to the easing of some restrictions and a resultant phased re-opening of businesses and institutions. As a result, impacts of COVID-19 on income-earning particularly in urban areas are expected to ease in the October to December 2020 period as the national economy begins to recover. This will likely improve access to food and income for low-income urban populations who are facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food security outcomes due to COVID-19 related disruptions in employment and business opportunities, with improvement to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes expected by December 2020.

  • In August, retail prices for the maize staple continued to follow seasonal trends, remaining stable in most markets across the country due to favorable market supply. Though prices in August were trending at levels 10 to 34 percent below prices at the same time last year in most markets, they remained between 9 and 13 percent above the five-year average. Meanwhile, institutional purchases by the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) are yet to begin after the government temporarily suspended planned purchases in June, while ADMARC purchases have also temporarily stopped due to insufficient funding. Given that funding has been allocated in the new budget, it is likely that purchases will resume around October 2020.

  • According to national, regional, and international seasonal forecasts, the start of the 2020/21 season is likely to be normal, with average rainfall most likely across the country from October 2020 to March 2021. Although average rainfall is the most likely scenario, there is an elevated probability of above-average rainfall (particularly in the southern half of the country) due to the establishment of La Nina conditions, which are associated with above-average rainfall across much of southern Africa including parts of Malawi.

About FEWS NET

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity. Created by USAID in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises, FEWS NET provides evidence-based analysis on approximately 30 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, USGS, and CHC-UCSB, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica.
Learn more About Us.

Link to United States Agency for International Development (USAID)Link to the United States Geological Survey's (USGS) FEWS NET Data PortalLink to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Link to National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Earth ObservatoryLink to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service, Climage Prediction CenterLink to the Climate Hazards Center - UC Santa BarbaraLink to KimetricaLink to Chemonics