Favorable rainfall performance raises prospects for above-average harvests
Between February and March 2020, populations in southern Malawi districts and the northern Karonga district are expected to face Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes in the presence of humanitarian assistance. In April and May, these populations will likely face Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes in the absence of assistance but as food access improves from own harvests. However, as cash crop sales will not have significantly started, access to income will remain low during these months. These households will transition to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) in June as significant cash crop income becomes available. Populations in the rest of the country are expected to be in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) from February to September 2020.
Malawi is expecting above-average production of most crops including the maize staple in the upcoming season. Harvests are expected to start in April, with green harvests in March. According to first round production estimates from the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development (MoAIWD), Malawi is expected to produce approximately 3.6 million metric tons of maize. Current crop conditions also suggest favorable prospects for above-average production.
Prices for the maize staple continued to increase in January 2020 and remain double average levels in most markets. Prices are expected to decrease with the start of green harvests in March, though will likely remain above average through September 2020. Despite anticipated above-average production this season, continued upward pressure on prices resulting from the government-set ADMARC buying price of MWK 310/kg is expected to keep prices from fully normalizing.