Main Crop Production and Post Harvest Losses: April and May is the main harvesting season for the main crops in Malawi especially food crops such as maize. In the month of May 2020, significant variations in maize production across districts at a household level was observed. Chitipa, Chiradzulu, Dedza, Ntcheu and Mzimba districts recorded the highest proportion of households that produced maize (over 95 %); while Chikwawa district recorded the lowest proportion (60%). Other districts which recorded less than 80% of households producing maize included Karonga, Mangochi, Nkhata Bay and Nkhotakota districts, which are all along the lakeshore.
Food Consumption: Notable variations are evident across the districts with Chikwawa (30%), Mulanje (44%), Phalombe (55%) and Nkhotakota (59%) recording the lowest proportion of households relying on own production, and thus, increased reliance on purchasing.
Livestock Ownership and Disease Prevalence: Chitipa and Mzimba districts recorded the highest ownership (above 80%), while Chikwawa district recorded the lowest (45%). Among the households owning one or more types of livestock, (22%) reported suspected livestock diseases with cases of Newcastle disease being the highest reported (35%). Significant variation in access to veterinary services across the districts was recorded with Mulanje reporting the highest access (33%), while Chiradzulu and Zomba recorded the lowest at 8%.
Reduced Coping Mechanism Index: About 13% of the households are classified as phase 3 in respect to using negative coping strategies, with Chikwawa and Karonga districts recording nearly a quarter of households classified as phase 3. Mzimba, Chitipa, Ntcheu, Salima and Kasungu districts recorded the lowest proportion of households classified as phase 3. Comparing with the same period in 2019, the percent of households classified as phase 3 has reduced from 20 percent, indicative of reduced adoption of negative coping mechanisms.
Market Analysis: Nearly all the sampled markets across the 18 districts remained operational. The average retail price of maize in May 2020 averaged MK158/kg with noticeable differences across the targeted districts. Thyolo district recorded the highest average price of maize at MK195/kg, followed by Chikwawa district at MK194/kg and Nkhata Bay district at MK193/kg. On the other hand, Kasungu, Mchinji and Salima districts recorded the lowest retail market prices at MK117/kg; MK121/kg and MK136/kg respectively.