Prices for maize, Malawi’s staple food, remained low in June, seen at 35 percent below the K150-per-kilogramme minimum farm gate price.
This is according to the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) Monthly Maize Market Report released last week.
The report shows that fewer than 10 percent of farmers who sold maize in May had their commodity bought at the government-set minimum price.
The trends follow a similar movement from March to April, where average ‘new’ maize price was seen at K35 per kg while ‘old’ maize was trading at K89 per kg.
Ministry of Agriculture spokesperson Grecian Lungu rated the maize market performance as a mixed bag, while saying the government expects stability soon.
“We can attribute this to bumper harvest of over 4.5 million metric tonnes against the 3.3 million metric tonne requirement for the nation to be food secure.
“The prices may continue fluctuating but, once Admarc goes on the market, we are expecting stabilised prices across the country,” Lungu said.
Food security expert Tamani Nkhono Mvula attributed the situation to influx of vendors on the market.
“From March up to now, most of the maize has not dried that much; so, if you take the maize and put it on the scale, what you are weighing mostly is water and not necessarily the biomass of the maize,
“As you are going to August, much of the maize would have dried up properly, the demand for the maize would have increased because, as at now, most of the people that buy on the market are eating their own maize,” Mvula said.
Maize’s price movement has a bearing on inflation trends.