Malawi: Food Insecurity - Emergency Plan of Action Final Report (MDRMW012)

Situation Report
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Description of the disaster

Malawi, as was the case with many countries in the Southern Africa Region, experienced weather related hazards because of the effects of the El Nino. These weather related hazards included late on-set of rains, erratic rainfall, prolonged dry spells in most parts of the Central and Southern Regions and floods in Northern Region that affected parts of Karonga and Mzimba districts. As a result, Malawi’s crop production in the 2015/16 farming season dropped significantly. The districts in Southern region of Malawi were the worst affected, followed by Central region and Northern region. Despite relatively good production in the Northern region, heavy rains towards the end of the rainy season caused flooding and destroyed crops.

The Second Round Agriculture Production Estimate Survey released in April 2016 by the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development (MoAIWD) highlighted that maize production during the 2015/16 agricultural season had dropped by 12.4%. The Survey estimated maize production at 2,431,313MT compared to 2,776,277MT during the 2014/15 production season. The national maize requirement was estimated at 3.2 million MT translating to a maize deficit of about 768,687 MT. The survey also revealed that besides a drop in maize production, other food crops, except for sweet potatoes and Cassava, registered decreases compared to the previous agriculture season as follows: rice decreased by 21.6%, cassava by 0.1%, wheat by 31.1%, while sorghum and millet dropped by 27.1% and 40.9%, respectively. A total number of 6.5 million people were estimated to be food insecure due to the drought. On 12 April 2016, the President of Malawi declared a state of national disaster as a result of prolonged dry spells during 2015/2016 season.

In an effort to respond to the call for support by the State President, MRCS made an Appeal for support to IFRC and the Netherlands Red Cross in particular to support affected households. The overall strategy of the appeal was to improve food security of the affected households and to mitigate the consequences of the food shortages and increase resilience in five districts of Balaka, Chikwawa, Nsanje, Phalombe and Salima. The operation sought to meet the immediate food needs through a cash transfer intervention whilst the medium-term needs were met through the provision of agricultural inputs to encourage increased production.

According to the MVAC for 2017, a total number of 836,766 people out of a projected total population of 17,373,185 would not be able to meet their food requirements for the 2017/18 consumption year which is about 5% of the population. The most affected districts are located in the Southern part of the country and these would require about 22,387MT of maize to meet their required food needs. According to FEWSNET October 2017 to January 2018, households in the few areas that faced localized shocks in the south and north are expected to transition from Stressed (IPC 2) outcomes to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes during this period. This highlights the need for continued support especially in the Northern and Southern region of Malawi to ensure that households are food secure. It also calls for programming to focus on building resilience of the communities so that they can withstand the recurrent droughts.