The vulnerable population requiring food assistance during the lean season has increased from 1.4 to 1.8 million, according to the updated November 2013 assessment conducted by Malawi’s Vulnerability Assessment Committee. Main factors contributing to food insecurity include low crop production as a result of earlier dry spells, floods, and input shortages; secondary factors include low food stocks and unstable maize supply. Stressed (IPC 2) or Crisis (IPC 3) conditions will prevail in areas of Malawi that experienced a reduced harvest in 2013. Food security conditions in the region are expected to improve as the harvest begins in March.
In Malawi, with its continuously depreciating currency, fuel prices are 27% higher than in December 2012. Compared to the 5-year baseline, maize prices in Malawi are up by 162%, a fact also reflected by numerous markets being in price crises (ALPS); this is due to the economic crisis and subsequent devaluation of the local currency in 2012 and below average production in 2013.
The impact of staple food price changes on the cost of the basic food basket from October to December 2013 was moderate.