The Centre for Social Concern (CfSC) is raising an alarm that maize prices may go up by more than double compared to prices for the staple in 2017.
In its report, titled The Role of the Market in Determining Food Security in Malawi Amid Climate Change Effects, CfSC notes that current maize prices across the country are in the ranges of K4,500 and K8,000 per 50 kilogramme (kg) bag.
This entails an average price of K6,590 at regional and national level This means that prices of maize from January to December 2017 averaged K7,331.87 while from January to February 2018, the average price is K6,548.
The report further hints that the development poses a threat to maize prices, which may increase to K7,331.87 or above, if the market is not well regulated.
CfSC Economic Governance Programme Officer, Lucky Mfungwe, hinted that this has been perpetuated by speculation amid climate change effects of dry spells, Armyworms, floods and the lifting of the ban on maize exportation.
“We call on government to empower Agricultural Development and Market Corporation (Admarc) by timely allocating more funds, which should coincide with harvest time to allow the grain marketer to purchase the required number of tonnage to feed the nation at reasonable competitive regional prices.
“It is our view that Admarc has been heavily politicised in recent times, making it to bow to political pressure. The responsibility of attaining the common good, besides falling to individual persons, belongs also to the State, since the common good is the reason why the political authority exists,” Mfungwe said.
It is feared that a minimum number of 850,000 households may be affected with hunger, with over 1,600 hectares of cropland under the fall armyworm attack.
Recently, President Peter Mutharika assured Malawians that the country has enough maize in stock and that no Malawian will die of hunger.
Last year, maize prices went as high as K15,000 per 50kg bag.