The Famine Early Warning System (Fewsnet) has cautioned that delayed rainfall in the 2013/14 farming season is likely to result in poor harvest in the Southern Region.
The start of the agriculture season was delayed across parts of the Central Region and most of the South by 20-30 days.
“This will result in a delayed start of green consumption and this will lengthen the amount of time poor rural households will have to manage without access to food supplies from their main harvest,” says a Fewsnet report released on Friday.
It states that crops in the South that were planted late due to the delayed rains could face severe moisture stress if a mid-season dry spell [around February] occurs.
“This dry spell could moderately-to-severely affect late planted crops, potentially impacting yield and production levels in the 2013/14 season, reads the report.
The humanitarian response plan for 1.9 million people, the report says is adequately funded and should improve acute food insecurity levels in areas of concern in the North, Central, and Southern regions. Minimal outcomes are expected from April to June, once household access to food increases with the new harvest.
During the first quarter of the outlook period, maize prices are likely to remain above last year’s levels and the five year average due to reduced local supplies in the lean period, high source market prices and increasing transportation costs.
Malawi is now battling an armyworm outbreak which threatens to worsen food security in the country.
There are also concerns about a potential red locust infestation during the coming months in the Lake Chilwa and Lake Chiuta plain districts of Machinga, Zomba and Phalombe.