Retail maize prices increased by 24 percent in February, averaging K633 per kilogramme (kg), published data from the International Food Policy and Research Institute (Ifri) showed on Wednesday.
This represents a 24 percent higher than January 2023 and 237 percent higher than February 2022.
Reads the February 2023 Ifpri Monthly Maize Price Report in part: “The highest average retail price [700 per kg] was reported in Chiringa, Mpondabwino and Mbayani markets and the lowest price [K531 per kg) was reported in Mzimba market.
“Rumphi market recorded the highest increase in average retail maize prices [44 percent] between the end of January 2023 and end of February 2023.”
According to the data, prices remain highest in the Southern Region at K 646 per kg, seven percent, and 24 percent higher than in the Centre (K602 per kg) and the North (K519 per kg) respectively.
“Most maize traders reported scarcity of maize within their locality as the main reason for increasing prices,” said Ifpri in the report.
Meanwhile, Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) sales were reported for at least one day in nine out of
the 26 markets monitored by Ifpri (Chitipa, Chimbiya, Jenda, Karonga, Mchinji, Mpondabwino, Mzimba, Ngabu and Rumphi).
Last month, Admarc said it had exhausted the maize it had in stock in the Central and Southern regions, with the North still having some maize in stock.
Admarc acting general manager Ethel Zilirakhasu said government gave them 27 600 metric tonnes (MT) of maize mid last year and they sold over 20 000 MT and were remaining with less than 7 000 MT in stock.
“The challenge is that the stock is mainly remaining in the North as in the Central and Southern regions, stocks have been exhausted,” she said.
CfSC economic governance programme officer Bernard Mphepo said in an interview that most Malawians are hardly surviving due to rising maize prices given its relevance in the food basket.
“As you know, maize is Malawi’s staple food, as such, the rising price of the commodity has had a huge impact on people’s livelihoods,” he said.
Maize, as part of the food component, has a huge weight at 45.2 percent in the consumer price index, an aggregate basket of goods and services for computing inflation.