Maize prices continued to decline in most markets in July, falling by four percent from K137 per kilogramme (kg) in June to K132/kg, International Food Policy and Research Institute (Ifpri) monthly retail prices indicate.
If the decline in the grain prices persist and is substantial, it could have a positive effect on cost of living and drive down inflation rate, which is currently at 11.3 percent as of June 2017, according to the National Statistical Office (NSO).
Maize has a huge weight at 50.2 percent in consumer price index (CPI), a measure that examines the weighted average prices of a basket of consumer goods and services such as transportation, food and others.
In the report, Ifpri notes that in the month under review, only three markets, Mzimba, Mchinji and Mwanza, reported price increases while prices remained steady in the three other markets of Mponela, Mulanje and Nsanje.
In the other nine markets monitored, prices declined, according to Ifpri, adding that Rumphi, which had reported the highest price increase in June, registered the largest price decrease during July at 12 percent.
Reads the report in part: “Although maize prices decreased in all the three regions during July, prices in the North remained considerably higher than in South and Central Malawi throughout the month.
“However, unlike the Centre and the South, prices in the North increased slightly towards the end of the month before stabilising. As at the end of the month, average maize prices were K148 per kg, K123 per kg and K129 per kg in the North, Centre and South, respectively.”
In an interview last week, Centre for Social Concern (CfSC) economic governance programmes officer Lucky Mfungwe said falling maize prices is at the expense of farmers who cannot break even as the price of maize in other parts of the country is low for business-oriented farming.
On June 23 2017, Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) opened the 2016/17 maize buying season and the State produce trader is buying the commodity at K170 per kg. n