Summary and Implications
The food security situation remains favorable across the country as a result of the recent harvest and increase in market supply of maize and other food stuffs. In addition, there has been a significant drop in market demand for food and food prices, especially in the rural areas. Maize prices remain low and continue to drop in some markets.
The Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) released the findings of the April/May assessment, which estimates up to 833,000 people are at risk of food insecurity for the current consumption period. An additional 147,800 people are borderline food insecure and require close monitoring because they could become food insecure if some economic shock were to push maize prices beyond MK30/kg later in the year. Most of these people are in areas identified as having been adversely affected by weather during the last growing season. These localized problem areas include parts of Kasungu, Dowa, Ntchisi, Mzimba, Rumphi Phalombe, Nsanje, Chikwawa, Mangochi and Nkhatabay districts, where production was affected by prolonged dry spells and floods. The area with the largest number of people at risk is Kasungu District.
Both private traders and the Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (ADMARC) are busy buying maize and various types of produce from farmers. However, ADMARC has been experiencing financial problems because they depend on government funding to finance produce purchases, and this year’s budget took a long time to be approved. The lack of funds has affected their maize purchases. Private traders have been buying, albeit at lower prices. Maize marketing has been brisk, helped in part by two National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) tenders for a total of 62,000 MT of locally sourced white maize. This has improved market opportunities for farmers, as traders compete for the maize and offer better prices with time.