Food crisis by June—Fewsnet


Two days after President Peter Mutharika declared that Malawi was in a state of disaster caused by prolonged rainfall shortage, Famine Early Warning System Network (Fewsnet) has predicted that vulnerable households particularly in the Southern Region will face a food ‘crisis’ as early as June this year.

In its report on Malawi, Fewsnet attributes the situation to limited harvest that will force poor households to sell off their maize produce to earn money for survival.

“Households with limited harvests, particularly in districts in the south, will start to engage in irreversible coping strategies in order to earn income for market purchases.


“Poor and very poor households in parts of central and northern Malawi will face stressed outcomes during this period, while most of these areas will experience minimal outcomes during this period because they will be consuming their own production beginning in May with the 2016 harvest,” reads the report.

In his declaration, Mutharika cited the southern region as one of the areas likely to face severe hunger.

“Prolonged dry spells have resulted into severe crop failure, particularly in the Southern Region and parts of the Central Region. The situation is slightly better in the north although some areas there have also been affected by the dry spells.


“The major contributing factor to the food decline is the unfavourable weather condition for crop development resulting from dry spells the country experienced during the season, particularly in the Southern and Central Regions of the country,” said Mutharika.

Chairperson for Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, Felix Jumbe, said Mutharika’s decision to make the declaration vindicates the committee.

Jumbe said government’s handling of this year’s Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp) also contributed to the situation.

“Yes as a country we experienced devastating effects of climate change but the impact has been so heavy because of Fisp mismanagement,” said Jumbe.

Added Jumbe: “The declaration vindicates the committee’s stand that the country needs a declaration considering the situation on the ground. The declaration, nonetheless, opens up the country to assistance from the donor community.”

Commenting on the President’s announcement, Civil Society Agriculture Network (Cisanet) National Director Tamani Nkhono- Mvula said the declaration is the only means of unlocking support for the country.

“He said the declaration raises the country’s profile to the outside world that greatly appeals to donors and aid agencies,” said Nkhono-Mvula.

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