Retail maize prices declined by an average of two percent in November, despite some areas registering price increases, published figures from the International Food Policy and Research Institute (Ifpri) showed on Wednesday.
In its monthly maize market report, Ifpri figures show that during November 2021, maize retail prices averaged K146 per kilogramme (kg)—two percent lower than October 2021, and 26 percent lower than November 2020.
However, during November, retail prices started picking up.
Reads the report, in part: “Within the month, there was a wide range of maize retail prices starting from as a low as K100/kg in Jenda and Mzimba and as high as K200/kg in Chikwawa.
“Again, some markets registered price increase as high as 20 percent in Chitipa and price decrease as low as two percent in Mpondabwino [Zomba].”
The institute said as the 2021/22 farming season is just starting, some farmers are selling off their maize to buy farm inputs such as inputs from Affordable Inputs Programme which is currently underway.
“Additionally, farmers are also releasing their maize as in-kind payment for farm preparation activities. This has eventually increased maize supply on market,” said the institute.
As at the end of November, prices in the South averaged K161 per kg (three percent lower than last month), in the Centre they averaged K135 per kg (one percent higher than last month) while in the North prices averaged at K112 per kg (four percent lower than last month).
Admarc is selling its maize at K205 per kg, 39 percent higher than average retail price in November 2021.
Maize, as part of the consumer price index—a measure of price change in a basket of constant quantity and quality of goods and service—contributes 42.5 percent to the inflation basket.
Meanwhile, Malawi’s headline inflation rate (year-on-year) has been on the rise since July when it was recorded at 8.7 percent to 9.8 percent as of October 2021.
The central bank also revised upwards the 2021 and 2022 inflation projection to 9.1 percent and 8.9 percent, respectively, on account of rising fuel prices, increasing maize prices and global supply chain disruptions.
Consumers Association of Malawi executive director John Kapito said low maize prices have been cushioning consumers from the high cost of living.
He said: “Malawian consumers are currently going through hard times, majority of them have no access to reliable incomes and this increase is so huge that not many Malawi families can afford.”
According to first round crop production estimates, Malawi is expected to produce 4.4 million MT of maize, which is 42 percent above the five-year average and 29 percent above the estimated national requirement of 3.4 million MT.