Malawi Key Message Update: Food insecurity outcomes expected to improve for 2017/18 consumption year, March 2017

Report
from Famine Early Warning System Network
Published on 17 Mar 2017 View Original

Near Term: February - May 2017 Medium Term: June - September 2017

Key Messages

  • Food insecure populations in central and southern Malawi continue to face Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) acute food insecurity outcomes, in the presence of humanitarian assistance. Outcomes are expected to improve among households once green consumption begins, followed by the main harvests and consumption of own production. Between April and September, an average 2016/17 harvest is expected and food insecure households will likely transition to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) and Stressed (IPC Phase 2).

  • Average maize prices have declined by about 11 percent since December. This decrease is atypical, as five-year price trends show that between December and February prices normally increase by about 30 percent. Factors contributing to these decreases include the large rural population receiving humanitarian assistance and the start of green consumption.

  • First round crop estimates indicate average production among food crops for the 2016/17 season. While maize levels are expected to be near the five-year average, sorghum, millet, and rice production ranges from 5 to 35 percent above five-year average levels. Improvements have also been recorded for tubers, and sweet potatoes will be about 40 percent above average, while cassava will be 5 percent above average. In contrast, estimates are projecting significant reductions in tobacco and cotton production because many farmers have abandoned these crops in recent years. Tobacco production is expected to be 64 percent of average levels and cotton will be 29 percent of average.

  • Since January, armyworm infestations among cereal crops have continued to cause damage. Damage caused by the fall armyworm resembles that of the stalk borer. The outbreak has now spread countrywide and the damage caused by the pest varies. To date approximately 35,000 hectares of crops, representing about 2 percent of area planted to cereals, has been affected. The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development has intensified control efforts by conducting monitoring exercises, providing pesticides to the affected areas, as well as carrying out sensitization campaigns. Overall damage caused by the armyworms is expected to be minimal due to the timely control measures.