Approximately 6.7 million people, about half of Malawi’s rural population, will receive assistance in February. Food insecure populations in central and southern Malawi will face Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) acute food insecurity outcomes, in the presence of humanitarian assistance. These outcomes are expected to continue in March, during the peak lean season. Were the humanitarian response not present, these areas would experience Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes.
After March, outcomes should improve to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) for most areas as households start consuming food from their own production. However, households in the Lower Shire livelihood zone, a chronically food insecure area, will be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) because they will not have fully recovered from the impact of two consecutive years of drought and the significant reduction in cotton production.
Reductions in incomes from cash crops are expected this season due to a decline in the area planted by farmers. Many farmers significantly reduced the area planted for tobacco and cotton because of consecutive poor marketing years for these crops, as well as losses incurred from two consecutive years of drought. This is expected to lead to a decrease in incomes at the macroeconomic and household level this season.
Food prices are decreasing earlier and much sharper than expected and this trend will likely continue through May. Factors contributing to these decreases include the large rural population receiving humanitarian assistance, which is reducing pressure on the markets, as well as the normal and above-normal levels of rainfall received this season.