Harvest prospects remain good despite pest infestation and delayed input support
Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity outcomes are expected to continue in most parts of the country during the first half of the outlook period. In the extreme southwest and southeast, areas will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) during the February and March period as poor households continue to rely on income from labor and face diminishing purchase power due to high staple prices.
Given the good seasonal rainfall, crop conditions are good and households will start consuming their green harvest and supplementing it with market purchases by March. By April and May, household level food stocks will significantly improve, reducing dependency on food purchases. By June, households will start consuming staples other seasonal foods, improving their food consumption and dietary diversity. With the improved food availability at the household level, Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes are projected for the June to September period throughout the country.
Maize and meal prices have remained exceptionally high despite the large in-country stocks and the continued maize export ban. These above average prices are increasingly making it difficult for poor households to access food. Given the continued high demand for maize and meal from the DRC and Malawi, maize prices are projected to remain high up until March. In April, maize prices typically begin to decrease as food supplies from the green and main harvests enter the market and demand for food purchases declines. By June, maize prices will remain above the five-year average, but will fall to levels below last season.