The International Food Policy Research Institute (Ifpri) says maize prices in some parts of the country keep on rising to as high as K370 per kilogramme (kg) or K18 500 per 50 kg bag.
The maize prices in the country are far much higher than on the South African Futures Exchange, where a 50 kg bag fetch K13 000 or K260 per kg, according to Ifpri.
The August pricing, which represents a one percent increase from July 2022, is based on the Monthly Maize Market Report for August produced by Ifpri.
Highest prices are recorded at Mbayani Market in Blantyre at K370 per kg, followed by Bangula in Nsanje at K366 per kg while Chikwawa recorded the highest increase in prices from K293 per kg in July to K395 per kg in August this year.
Reads the report in part: “After a sustained period of growth unusually during the April and the harvest months of May through June, retail prices of maize stabilised in August at around K324/kg on average, one percent higher than at the end of July.
“Across the markets, Chikwawa recorded the highest price increase at 18 percent. On the other hand, some markets in Mzimba, Chimbiya in Dedza and Salima recorded price declines of as much as five percent.”
The Ifpri report shows that maize prices are the highest in the Southern Region.
On the other hand, prices in the Central Region show a decreasing trend to almost level with Northern Region prices in the last one and half weeks of August.
Agricultural policy development analyst Tamani Nkhono-Mvula is quoted as having said that government has to come up with other players to ensure that there is food on the market so that prices are controlled.
“Maize on the market can come through institutions like National Food Reserve Agency when prices are going up. Government should also think about importation so that prices go down. We can also look at programmes like cash transfer programme,” he said.
Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources economics lecturer Horace Phiri urged people to control their eating habits by ensuring that they keep longer their produce because food prices will continue to soar.
He predicted that with soaring prices, there is need to look for alternative crops that do not require fertiliser, warning, importing fertilisers will be too costly for government, and even if it imports, not many will be able to buy the commodity.
The Monthly Maize Market Reports are developed by researchers at Ifpri Malawi