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Malawi Food Security Outlook, February to September 2021

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Humanitarian assistance improves outcomes, with above-average crop production expected in April/May


• Across most rural areas, Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes are expected throughout the projection period, supported by above-average crop production. However, in some southern and central districts impacted by localized production shortfalls in the 2019/20 season, Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes are expected through March in the presence of humanitarian assistance. These areas will likely transition to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes with the beginning of the main harvest in April, with further improvement to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) expected in May. In August/September, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are likely to emerge in Nsanje and Chikwawa where the 2020/21 crop has been impacted by dry spells.

• In urban areas impacted by COVID-19 control measures, humanitarian assistance distributions have started at the end of February 2021. As such, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes present for most of February are expected to have improved to Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!), expected to persist in the presence of assistance through April. Due to expected economic improvement supported by easing of control measures and cash injections from humanitarian assistance, improvements in income-earning will likely support Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes in May and June. With seasonal increases in economic activity expected during the harvest period, improvement to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes is likely around July.

• Malawi is expecting above-average production in the 2020/21 season due to average to above-average rainfall and increased access to inputs through the government’s Affordable Inputs Program. According to Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security first round production estimates, Malawi is expected to produce 4.4 million MT of maize. This is 42 percent above the five-year average and 21 percent above the national requirement. However, these prospects may be revised downward due to dry spells in some southern districts.

• In January, ADMARC began selling maize at the subsidized price of MWK 160/kg. Given this and above-average market supplies, maize grain prices are expected to remain atypically stable at the national level through the harvest. Maize grain prices have remained stable since November 2020, and in January 2021 were between 12 percent below average to 8 percent above average (but below average in most markets), and 30 to 44 percent below prices at the same time last year.