Maize prices remain stable
Maize prices for the month of May remain stable following the government’s order for Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation to be selling the commodity at K150 per kilogramme (kg).
However, low maize prices continue to frustrate some vendors, who feel that this is leading to low business turnover.
Random interviews conducted at Chirimba and Zingwangwa markets revealed mixed views from the vendors, with some lamenting low maize prices while others found nothing wrong with the situation.
One of the maize sellers at Zingwangwa Market, Edith Chande, said, since the announcement of recommended maize prices, she has been finding it difficult to break even.
“Normally, we, vendors, set buying and selling prices for commodities. However, from the time the government set minimum prices, it has been difficult to come up with prices that are attractive to customers,” she said.
Some of the vendors, notably Michael Bandazi from Chirimba Market, said they were not bothered by the situation.
“Since, in line with government-set prices, a 50 kilogramme-bag is going at K7,500, I am simply adjusting to the situation by not charging too much for a 50-kilogramme bag. The key is in making sure that my prices are not way ahead of those which the government set for crops,” he said.
The Daily Times has gathered that Lilongwe maize traders have been selling a 50-kg bag at between K7,500 and K10,000 while, in the Northern Region city of Mzuzu, the staple grain is selling at between K7,500 and K9.500 per 50-kg bag.
This is corroborated by the April monthly maize market report released by the International Food Policy Research Institute of Malawi (IFPRI), which showed that the retail price of maize decreased by 4.7 percent last month.
“The monthly average retail maize price for April 2021 was K171 per kg, lower than the previous month, when it was fetching K181 per kg, which is further lower than the previous year of April 2020, when it was pegged at K171 per kg,” the report reads.
This trend follows price drops in recent weeks.
In a recent interview, agriculture expert Tamani Nkhono Mvula attributed the drop in prices to the rise in maize supply.
He added that, going forward, this would continue as the country expects a bumper harvest.