The Facts

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  • From December until the next harvest, most rural farmers must buy maize on the market, as household supplies have been exhausted
  • Last year, most farmers had to start purchasing from Oct/Nov, when cash is scarce, at very high prices
  • More than 65 percent of Malawians live below the poverty line, making it one of the poorest countries in the world
  • Malawi is a land-locked country, with poor infrastructure connecting it to major ports. This has a direct effect on commodity availability and prices
  • Very high rates of chronic stunting and malnutrition
  • Very high prevalence of HIV/AIDS (19.5 percent average)
  • Direct linkages between household food security and HIV/AIDS, including loss of able-bodied labour and income, increased expenditure on health care and funerals, adoption of orphans by the elderly, child-headed households
  • HIV/AIDS will continue to have a severe effect on rural Malawian’s food security
  • There was a humanitarian crisis last year due to low production and extremely high maize prices, leaving many farmers without enough food, particularly from Nov-April
  • Some farmers who normally employ others to work on their farms, have had to seek labour opportunities themselves
  • Households have sold assets like cooking materials, farm tools, etc. In some parts of the country, there has been out migration from one district to another as people searched for work or food