kwacha mwnnLILONGWE (Mfuneko Toyana, Reuters) – Malawi’s economic growth will slow to 3 percent this year from 5 percent in 2014 due to severe flooding in January that affected food production, the International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday.

“The Malawian economy is facing difficult challenges due to weather-related shocks. As a result, a looming food crisis is expected to negatively impact an estimated 2.8 million persons,” the IMF said following a visit to the southern African country.

The IMF said the slowdown in growth reflected the steep decline in the 2015 maize harvest, disrupted by floods early this year that killed at least 79 people.