The Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) Bulletin No. 15/18 Volume 1: Food Security Forecast for the 2018/2019 Consumption Year



• The Northern Region received normal to above while the Centre and South receive below normal rainfall.

• The Centre and South experienced prolonged dry spells averaging 2-4 weeks while the North experienced minimal dry spells in isolated places.

• Fall army worms infestations were reported in all districts but unlike last year control measures were spontaneous this season thus minimising impact.

• Maize production has dropped from 3.5million MT to 2.7 million MT representing 28%.

• MVAC projects that maize prices will continue to rise from December 2018 to March 2019, but trending slightly above the fiveyear average.

• The 2018 VAA forecast projected that 3.3 people will require assistance from 2 to 4 months.

• SMART survey results of February 2018 have shown overall nutritional status of under-five children was within acceptable ranges per WHO global thresholds (prevalence <5%)

1. Context and Background

Malawi’s economic growth outlook for 2018 has been weakened mainly due to the impact of dry spells, Fall Armyworm (FAW) and intermittent power supply. Real GDP is projected to be around 4.03 % in 2018; (down from 5.1% in 2017) 4.65 % in 2019; and 4.8 % in 2020. Poverty still remains a fundamental issue: about 51.54 % of the population leave below the national poverty line and 20.1 % being ultra-poor.

The Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) projects annual average inflation for 2018 at around 9.0%. Despite the recent reduction in inflation, the RBM hints that risks to inflation outlook persist largely due to rising global oil market prices. The recent increase in fuel prices is likely to have a significant impact on the pricing of goods and services in general, food prices in particular. The official exchange rate continues to be stable, trading at around K726 (middle rate) against the United States dollar since November, 2016.

After two consecutive bad production years, last year’s harvest saw a much-needed return to normalcy (3.5 million tones of maize produced). However, the 2018 maize production is estimated to drop (by 22%) to 2.7 million tones, largely due to prolonged dry spells and fall army worm infestation.

According to the FEWSNET July18 Outlook Report, national maize carryover stocks are estimated at around 200,000 MT (ADMARC, SGR). National average maize prices have remained depressed since 2017 but are likely to start increasing from July to October, 2018 but projected to trend below the five year average. From November 2018, prices will experience significant increases and trend above the five-year average.

Seasonal forecast for the 2018/2019 production season is so far pointing towards an El Nino phenomenon associated with below average rainfall for the Southern Africa Region. The Malawi Department of Climate Change and Mete