Malawi

FEWS Malawi Food Security Report mid-Feb 2002 to mid-Mar 2002

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Summary

Most parts of the country have experienced a dry spell for the past 2-3 weeks, threatening crop production prospects for the season.

Widespread consumption and theft of green maize due to the current maize shortage may adversely affect the final harvest outcome and compromise food security for the 2002/2003 consumption period.

The Government has declared the current food security situation a "disaster" and has appealed for assistance from various sources, including the donor community.

The National Food Reserve Agency received about 83,000 MT out of the 150,000 MT of the planned maize imports by the second week of March 2002. However, demand continues to outstrip supplies.

Local market maize prices continue to rise in many local markets due to continued scarcity and rationing of maize in ADMARC markets where the price is fixed.

There are signs that the food security situation is beginning to improve in the short term as maturing crops become available for consumption; as reduced market demand is causing prices to drop in some markets in the south; and as livestock prices stabilize, albeit at low levels, because people no longer need to sell as many animals to purchase food staples.

The Malawi Kwacha exchange rate appears to have stabilized since early February at about MK73/US$1.00, although there is speculation that it may depreciate further.

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