Malawi

Malawi Key Message Update: Lower staple food prices support favorable food security outcomes in all areas but the far south, November 2021

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Situation Report
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Key Messages

  • Overall, most rural households in Malawi continue experiencing favorable food security conditions owing to above-average food availability and lower than average retail prices for the maize in local markets. FEWS NET projects most poor households across the country will facing None (IPC Phase 1) throughout the projection period. However, very poor households in the Lower Shire Livelihood Zone districts of Nsanje and Chikwawa are transitioning to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in the November/December 2021 period due to below-normal production caused by prolonged dry spells and lower-than-normal access to income. These households will require humanitarian food assistance through the March 2022 peak of the lean season. Currently, the humanitarian food assistance is planned but not fully funded.

  • Due to a second consecutive year of above-average production, prices for the maize continue to trend below the previous year and the five-year average, making maize more affordable for households that have run out of own- produced food and are relying on market purchases. In October 2021, maize prices in FEWS NET monitored markets were trending at levels 11 to 35 percent below their corresponding 2020 prices and 9 to 29 percent below the five-year average. Maize prices are expected to increase between November and December following seasonal trends, especially in the deficit-producing areas of southern Malawi due to an increase in demand as the country approaches the peak lean period. However, maize prices are still expected to be below the five-year average by between 5 to 30 percent, primarily due to above-average market supplies amidst lower than normal institutional and household demand.

  • FEWS NET projects an above-average upcoming production year for Malawi based on analysis of weather forecasts, overall input access, and general positive economic conditions among farming households in the current season. Despite reported delays in farming households’ access to subsidized inputs from the government implemented Affordable Inputs Program (AIP), chances of extreme weather events such as dry spells and floods in prone areas, and possible pest attacks, historical trends support the projection of an above-average production despite these hazards.

  • COVID 19 indicators continue to improve with daily COVID-19 infections averaging about three people per day for November. As of November 25, 2021, the daily positivity rate was 0.43 percent, and the weekly positivity rate (seven -day moving average) was 0.4 percent. On November 25, 2021, only 1 COVID -19 patient was admitted to the hospital, zero deaths were recorded, and the country had only 573 active cases. Vaccines continue being readily available with anybody requiring vaccination accessing the vaccines easily. However, vaccine uptake remains low as vaccination is voluntary, with only 3 percent of the total population having been fully vaccinated. The positive trends will support continuation of the current relaxed COVID-19 prevention restrictions and even trigger further relaxation. This will have a positive impact on the business and employment environment, increasing income-earning opportunities for poor urban households.