Key Message Update

Maize and meal price increases expected to reduce purchasing power

November 2016

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
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 2.0 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 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

Presence countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
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

  • Although Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity outcomes are likely to continue in most parts of the country during the outlook period, between the end of November/December Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are likely to set in in a few areas in the southeast and southwest as poor households continue to experience reduced purchasing power because of the high maize and meal prices. For now , livestock continues to be in mild to poor condition due to poor pastures and limited access to water, but this should improve once the seasonal rains are established. 

  • After some stability in maize meal prices, the start of the lean season across parts of the country has resulted in a rise in maize meal prices as demand for industrially processed meal picks up. Meal prices are about 25 percent and 60 percent above the previous season and the five-year average, respectively. These high price levels for meal are being driven by high maize grain prices. 

  • The export ban has been indefinitely extended because the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) was not able to reach its purchase goal of 500,000 MT of maize for the strategic grain reserves. In order to meet this goal, a tender had been issued for the purchase of 220,000 MT of maize grain, but the response has been less than favorable and they are still unlikely to meet the target. Meanwhile the government has reiterated that the export ban will continue until the FRA meets its target to ensure the country’s food security. Despite the continued export ban, informal exports into Malawi and the DRC will continue to sustain high local prices and reduce consumer purchasing power. In Chipata, maize grain prices increased by 47 percent between September and November due to increasing demand in Malawi.  

  • Land preparation for the 2016/17 season continues while input acquisition from the market is ongoing. Fertilizer for the Government Input Support program has reached districts, but the delivery of seeds and administrative funding challenges is delaying the distribution. Of the 105 districts (targeting 1.6 million farmers), 39 districts are expected to receive e-vouchers. Despite the program delays, since many farmers benefited greatly from the good prices that they received from their 2015/16 crop sales, they should be able to acquire agricultural inputs for the upcoming season on time.

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