- Across most of the country, the El Niño has resulted in a delayed start, poorly distributed rains, and prolonged dry conditions which have led to delayed planting and poor crop development. These poor cropping conditions have resulted in permanent wilting in districts in central and southern Malawi. As a result, this will substantially reduce household access to green crops for consumption and harvest prospects. The lean period will also extend into April instead of March.
- Nearly 40 percent of farmers have not received access to subsidized seeds and fertilizer through this year’s Farm Input Subsidy Program (FISP) because of delays. Since it is mid-way into the cropping season, farmers without access to this program have planted recycled seeds with little to no access to fertilizer. Without these inputs, production prospects for the 2015/16 season are likely to be reduced.
- Assistance programming in the form of cash and in-kind food transfers will end for 2.8 million food insecure people in February due to funding gaps and a pipeline break. Since a later than normal harvest is expected in May and a smaller than expected green harvest is expected in April, households will face livelihood protection deficits and food gaps for approximately two months, resulting in Stressed and Crisis acute food insecurity outcomes from March.
- In December, food prices increased to as much as MWK 190/kg in monitored markets. FEWS NET assessments in mid-January found that maize prices have increased to levels above MWK 200/kg in some markets. These prices are well above the five-year average and 2-3 times higher than last year’s prices during the same December-January period.