Southern Malawi faced several consecutive years of poor harvests as a result of weather-related shocks, especially dry spells. In addition, the devaluation and depreciation of the local currency in May 2012 significantly lowered consumer purchasing power as prices of basic commodities and staple food continued to rise. (FEWS NET, 31 Jul 2012) The Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) conducted an assessment in Oct 2012 and projected that the number of vulnerable population had increased from 1.63 million to 1.97 million people, representing a 21% increase (Govt, 31 Oct 2012).
An initial Food Insecurity Response Plan with an estimated budget of $48 million was presented by the Government of Malawi with the support of the humanitarian partners in Aug 2012 (Resident Coordinator, 30 Aug 2012).
For the 2013/14 consumption period, the MVAC's National Food Security Forecast projected that 1.4 million people in the 21 districts would be food insecure, representing 9.5 per cent of the population, with the Northern region being the worst affected. (Govt, 15 Jul 2013)
In December 2014, delayed rains had negative impacts on crop production. The delay prolonged the lean period for households and reduced agriculture labor opportunities, adversely impacting incomes among households that were dependent on markets for food purchases. Approximately 640,000 people were identified as food insecure countrywide. (FEWS NET, 16 Dec 2014)
An estimated 640,009 persons were assessed to be food insecure in 19 districts by the 2014 Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC), a sharp decrease compared with the 1.46 million people estimated in the previous year. The lower number reflected improved food availability and access in 2014, following the larger maize harvest and sharply reduced prices. (FAO, 6 Jan 2015)