According to the September IPC round, some 1.6m people are currently facing phase 2 Stress conditions, mainly in Southern districts. It is projected that phase 3 Crisis conditions could prevail in these areas by the January to March lean season. According to the latest VAC assessment, the number of food insecure people in Malawi has increased from 0.2 million in 2011 to 1.6 million in 2012.
Although the 2012 harvest was below average, a surplus of 500,000 tons of maize is expected. Surpluses are located in districts the northern central regions. Almost all districts in the southern and some of the central region had low production in the 2012 harvest.
Cumulative maize imports are on average 9 per cent higher than last year, as a result of lower domestic maize availability. Informal cross-border maize trade with neighbouring Mozambique has increased. Currently, food is available at most markets but at high prices that are 52-105% above 2011 levels. The recent substantial devaluation of the currency is contributing to higher prices. As the lean season approaches, it is expected that maize availability will decline at some markets due to local maize shortfalls. Exceptionally high prices of maize are expected until March 2013.