Malawi Household Food Security Bulletin | Mobile Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping (mVAM) on the Effects of COVID-19 in Malawi – Round 4

Situation Report
Originally published



  • The food security situation at household level continues to remain relatively stable for four consecutive rounds of monitoring, with almost all interviewed households across the country classified as having either acceptable to borderline food consumption.

  • Even though food consumption remains good overall, the proportion of households who are employing emergency consumption-based coping strategies and resorting to the most severe livelihood coping strategies has started increasing to almost double in the current Fourth Round as compared to the previous three rounds.

  • Physical access to markets has improved slightly in the Fourth Round compared to the previous three rounds as markets continue to function properly. Urbanbased households reported having greater physical access to markets as compared to rural-based households. This is likely due to their high market dependency as compared to rural households, many of whom are still consuming from their own stocks.

  • Reported cases of health-related indicators of fever, cough, and difficulty breathing remain stable overall in the Fourth Round, with a very slight increase in the proportion of households reporting cases of fever and cough as compared to the Second and Third Rounds.


Most rural households across the country continue to consume food from their own production from the previous harvest. Soon, some households are likely to exhaust their stocks and start relying on markets as the lean season approaches. For a few months now, the country has been experiencing the adverse economic effects of the regional and international travel and trade restrictions on its economy because of COVID-19, which is particularly affecting urban and peri-urban areas. COVID-19 is still likely to adversely impact food security in the coming months.

For this reason, starting in May 2020, WFP put in place remote household-level monitoring to track changes in food security as influenced by COVID-19.

As of the September-published report, the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) estimated that 2.62 million people, nearly 15% of the nation’s population, will face acute food insecurity during the upcoming lean season between October 2020 and March 2021, with a food gap period of anywhere between two to five months depending on the location. Of the total food insecure population, approximately 22% live in urban areas of the four major cities of Blantyre, Lilongwe, Mzuzu, and Zomba; due to, inter alia, job losses, shrinking businesses, and wage cuts as COVID-19 restrictions have affected many spheres of economic activities [1].