depend on own–produced food from last season's harvest. Households that
did not produce enough food this season, however, are currently
moderately food insecure or at risk of food insecurity, given that they
must rely on the markets at a time of high maize prices this season.
This is particularly the case in many parts of the southern region,
where some areas experienced crop production failure due to unfavorable
weather conditions (Figure 1).
Most households are busy preparing their fields in preparation
for the 2008/09 agricultural season. The season starts in October and
ends in March, beginning in the south and progressing northward, with
land preparation following this progression as well. To help boost
agricultural production and improve food security, the government's
seeds and fertilizer inputs subsidy program is currently underway and
on–target to arrive prior to the planting rains in early November.
In contrast to previous months, a majority of local markets
recorded a decline in maize prices in September. The decline is partly
attributed to the government's decision to fix a maximum maize selling
price of MK52/kg. At the same time, this decline does not reflect the
seasonal pattern, when maize prices normally begin rising as households
exhaust their supplies and market demand increases with the approaching
hunger season (December to February).
significantly in the past month, from 8,540 MT in August to 2,185 MT in
September, or about 67 percent. The government's ban on the
large–scale, private trade of maize, as well as the seasonal decline in
tradable stocks in source countries, are likely factors behind this