Malawians enjoy record harvest
Malawi?s summer crop harvest is almost complete, and the rainy season is essentially over. Household food security has improved; household stocks are high, and market demand and consumer prices are low. The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security has conducted the third round agricultural production estimate survey; the results will be released mid-June. Malawi expects its second consecutive bumper harvest this season. Farmers began planting winter crops in March and April, and will continue planting until July and August. The first winter harvests begin in August and continue through December. The winter crop improves household food security at the onset of the lean months (January and February).
Food aid distributions in response to the needs identified by the 2006/07 Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) are now complete as households have food from their own production. The food aid program was extended by one month into April 2007 to prevent the need for households to consume their food crops prematurely. The food aid program was generally a success, meeting all of the identified needs. The MVAC has just finished their 2007/08 food security assessment to determine areas that may need food aid assistance this season. The results will be released soon.
ADMARC has not yet started buying maize as the private traders are now doing. However, market activity in maize has generally been low; traders fear a weak market for their produce due to the favorable household food security following the recent harvest. However, as the moisture content drops further, trade in maize is expected to increase as traders stock up to fulfill contractual obligations to the national Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) for exports to Zimbabwe and other future export contracts. This increase in maize trade activity is expected to strengthen the market, pushing up local market prices.