Maize is the staple diet of most Malawians. Once ground it is added to water to make nsima, a very thick porridge that is eaten daily by hand. Due to last season’s poor and late rain pattern many countries in southern Africa are facing a severe maize shortage in the coming months. In Malawi the crop is patchy with some areas losing all their maize due to flooding. A few areas, particularly in the far north of Malawi have a reasonable crop while much of the rest of the country will face great difficulties with very stunted kernels. On the right of the picture is a normal cob of maize, on the left is a typical cob from this year’s crop. While some food aid is getting through to Malawi, distribution is mainly to the towns and villages along the main roads with more isolated villages receiving little or nothing.