Malawi is experiencing the most severe prolonged dry spells and fall army worm infestation which have threatened agricultural production of 3.8 million people (Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Report 2018). With little or no rain still not falling in some parts of the country and fall army worms still destroying crop fields the outlook is alarming which will result in hunger to over 3.8 million people up to next growing season (Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Report 2018). Even before the prolonged dry spells, Malawi Government had declared drought a national disaster in December 2017 because of fall army worms.
Twenty out 28 districts that include Phalombe, Mulanje, Chikwawa, Nsanje, Mangochi, Chiradzulu, Balaka, Neno, Salima, Dowa, Lilongwe with approximately 270,000 hectares under crops were affected by fall army worms and 215,000 hectares affected by dry spells. In addition, low lying areas of southern and central areas of Malawi, cereal crops like maize (Malawi’s staple food) have dried up permanently affecting 850,000 households. According to estimates of survey done in 2017/18, this situation is likely to compromise crop production and household food security this 2017/18 growing season if no greater efforts to mitigate and recover are taken.
The ACT Malawi forum is planning on submitting a funding proposal to provide Food assistance, Agricultural inputs and Capacity building to ensure that the drought affected persons’ basic needs are met with regards to food security, nutrition and Livelihoods.