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Malawi: GIEWS Country Brief: Malawi 18 March 2019

Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Country: Malawi
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT Cereal production in 2019 forecast at above average level, reflecting generally beneficial rains However, in southern districts heavy rainfall in March triggered floods which are expected to cause crop losses and lower harvests compared to earlier expectations Maize prices increased steeply and were above year earlier values at start of 2019 Food insecurity expected to worsen in flood-affected southern districts, but forecast increase in cereal production in 2019 anticipated to improve conditions at national level Production of maize forecast to increase in 2019 Harvesting of the 2019 main season cereal crops is expected to start from late April.
Production of maize, the main food staple, is forecast to increase to an above average level of about 3.3 million tonnes in 2019. The principal factor supporting the favourable production outlook has been the generally beneficial rainfall since the start of the cropping season in October 2018. As a result, cropped areas in the central and northern regions exhibited satisfactory vegetation conditions at the start of March, inferring a likely increase in maize yields in 2019, with the area sown expected at an average level.
However, in the southern region, which produces about one-third of the national maize output, heavy rains in the first week of March caused flooding in 13 districts. No official data is yet available regarding the impact to the agriculture sector, although crop losses are expected in the worst affected zones. In addition, in areas where there is still standing water or excessive soil moisture, yields are likely to be lower than earlier expectations. In addition to maize, a production increase is also forecast for the second main cereal crop, rice, similarly reflecting mostly favourable weather conditions, while sorghum and millet harvests are expected at average levels in 2019.


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