By Taonga Sabola:
Prices for Malawi’s staple food, maize, continued on an upward trajectory in June 2019 rising by two percent to average K165 per kilogramme, the International Food Relief Partnership (IFRP)Monthly Maize Market Report has shown.
The speed of the rise was, however, slower than the three percent recorded in May 2019.
The speed was even slower than the 11 percent rise recorded in June 2018.
IFRP has attributed the slower pace in the rise of maize prices in June to the relatively good recent maize harvest compared to last year.
The report says maize prices rose in 12 markets and remained constant in eight markets in June 2019.
“M’baluku in Mangochi had the highest price increase (12 percent) while Salima had the largest price decrease (six percent). The average retail price for old maize during the month of June was K165/kg.
“By the end of June, retail prices in all markets except Chitipa, Rumphi and Jenda were higher or equal to the minimum farmgate price of K150/ kg announced by [Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development] in mid-April 2019,” reads the report in part.
It adds that given that Strategic Grain Reserve stocks were at just over 24,000 metric tonnes (MT) in early June, the ability to defend the minimum farm gate price remains uncertain until restocking decisions are made.
Maize retail prices were highest in the South and lowest in the North, as has been the case since 2018.
The report says traders attributed the elevated maize prices in the Southern Region to reduced maize supply in the region, especially in Mangochi.
Highest maize prices of about K200 per kg were registered in Nsanje while the lowest maize price of K140 per kg was seen in Chitipa.
Maize, constitutes 45.2 percent in the consumer price index, an aggregate basket of goods and services for computing inflation.
However, latest figures show that Malawi’s headline inflation eased by 0.2 percentage points in May 2019 to 8.9 percent from 9.1 percent.
National Statistical Office (NSO) attributed the easing in headline inflation to a drop in food inflation.
According to NSO, food inflation was recorded at 13 percent in May, down from 13.8 percent in April while non-food inflation stood at 5.7 percent, up from 5.4 percent in April.