WFP Malawi Country Brief, January 2018

Situation Report
Originally published



  • 700,000 families could be affected by dry spells and 1.2 million by fall army worm infestation

  • USD 1.8 million are urgently needed to sustain the food support provided to 32,175 refugees

  • 420,000 people supported by WFP with cash-based transfers for the lean season response

  • 132,000 households are currently enrolled in WFP Malawi’s resilience programme

In Focus: rising concerns on the 2018 harvest

The start of the 2017/18 rainy season has seen less than average rainfall expected which is likely to have negative impacts on crop development this season.

According to the latest update from the Ministry of Agriculture (as of January 31st, 2018), nearly 382,000 hectares of rain-fed maize, sorghum and millet have been affected by fall armyworms (FAW), while 270,000 hectares have been affected by dry spells.

Initial findings estimate that 700,000 families could be affected by dry spells and 1.2 million by fall army worm infestation (Ministry of Agriculture).

Information is still forthcoming, and FAW control efforts are ongoing to reduce crop yield losses to the pest. The Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) secretariat is planning to do a pre-harvest assessment in the coming weeks to estimate the combined effects of both dry spells and FAW infestation.

In addition, markets witnessed a dramatic upsurge in maize prices during the last week of January despite large availability in the Government’s Strategic Reserve.

Concerns are growing that a greater number of people will be in need of assistance in 2018.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the total combined maize loss is estimated at 283,000mt for the current farming season (as of January 31st, 2018).

During an address to the Parliament of Malawi on February 5, the Minister of Agriculture has indicated that USD 42,7 million is needed for short-term measures including the implementation of the maize export ban, strategic grain reserves mobilisation and food relief, among other interventions.

With support from its partners, the Ministry of Agriculture has taken timely and adequate measures by importing and distributing chemicals for FAW control.

WFP has integrated messages on Fall Army Worm into the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) under its resilience programme and is also providing logistic support to the Government and FAO for pesticides and chemicals handling and distribution.