In the country, hunger is no longer looming.
Rather, it is already here and getting worse.
This was not unforeseen though.
For most rural farmers and weather experts, the worsening food situation in the country has been expected since the start of the previous rainy season when maize fields were being devastated by dry spells.
Some tried replanting, but they are still at the risk of the chronic food shortage as the new crop wilted and died in no time.
At Mposa in Machinga, the household of Jane and Sydney Mkumbadzala, which requires 1 000 kilogrammes (kgs), yielded just 100kgs after replanting three times.
The harvest may be a big crisis for the Mkumbadzalas who used to harvest almost 4 000kgs every year. Even rice, which flourishes in the setting, registered low yield.
However, the home has been buzzing with smiles since they started growing bonongwe and other indigenous vegetable for sale.
Their children, Clemensia and her sister Bernadette, are neither stunting nor missing classes due to the humanitarian crisis faced by millions of Malawians, including farmers who survive on rain-fed agriculture.
For the majority, surmounting the recurring disasters is hard. Even simple things, such as sending children to school, have become harder.
Government estimates that 6.5 million citizens will need urgent relief food supplies as prolonged dry spells, spurred by El Nino conditions, have halved maize production in the 2015-2016 growing season.
In Mposa Village, where fields yield little and unemployment is high, some are already finding it almost impossible to survive.
“We didn’t know what would become of our family, especially the children, but my husband, Sydney, told me to take heart and stay focused and use every opportunity to rebuild our livelihood,” says Jane, 35.
While uncertainties were biting harder, the couple was also worried about a slowdown in the construction of a house underway.
“Hopes of a bumper harvest were dashed by the erratic rains which the media attribute to El Nino,” Sydney recalls.
The family, which faced grim food prospects, has been rising since they obtained a K50 000 loan from Vision Fund which they invested in a vegetable garden along a nearby stream.
Since 2012, the garden could only produce enough for relish.
Now, the family thrives on proceeds from the garden by selling surplus at Mposa Market and surrounding communities.
“The loan was worth it. We bought fertiliser and fuel for a communal irrigation pump,” she says.
The Mkumbadzalas are among 150 families that have struck gold while rebuilding their livelihoods from the pains of low maize harvests.
In Chamba and Mposa communities, Vision Fund has disbursed loans worth over K14 million to 23 business groups
The borrowers use the earnings from winter cropping for basic needs, including food and school fees for their children.
They seem ambitious and hopeful though their village is severely marginalised when it comes to access to financial services.
“As small-scale farmers, we will continue capitalising on the loans to improve food security in our village,” said Jane.
Through the credit facilities, Vision Fund has helped many farming families acquire assets, such as goats, houses and irrigation equipment.
“If we had not obtained the loan, we would have sold our goats. Maybe we would have separated as I wanted to escape to the city to search for a job,” says Sydney.
In the rural locality, some households have adopted costly coping strategies such as withdrawing children from school and reducing daily food consumption.
So far, Jane was expected to have repaid the loan at the interest of seven percent by this month.
They consider the interest fair and flexible considering that banks and microfinance institutions charge nearly 40 percent, a huge drawback for the majority of Malawians who are rural-based and poor.
The flexible loans were timely as they came at a time even World Vision feared for the future of poor households.
“Since the onset of the drought, our hearts and prayers have been with the children and their families,” says World Vision programmes manager in Machinga, Henry Machemba
For him, it is pleasing that the communities are back on their feet by investing in farming and small-scale businesses that safeguard children from stunting and help them stay in school.