As Malawi continues to face economic hardships, the cost of living went up in January, the Centre for Social Concern (CfSC) has said.
CfSC disclosed this on Thursday in Mzuzu when the organisation launched its activities in the city.
The launch was attended by people from all walks of life, including Bishop Joseph Zuza of Mzuzu Diocese of the Catholic Church.
CfSC social conditions research programme officer Alex Nkosi said there was an average increase of 9.7 percent as Blantyre registered a 12 percent increase, Lilongwe 11 percent whereas Zomba and Mzuzu had an increase of 8 percent.
The report also highlights the cost of living in 2011 which it says went up by 21 percent between January and October.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“This unmatched increase in cost of living continues relentlessly and is negatively impacting on household food security,Ã¢â‚¬Â says the report.
It adds that households most affected by the increase are net buyers who spend a large share of their income on food.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The most vulnerable net buyers are female-headed households. Studies have shown that female-headed households are disproportionate among the poorest in rural and urban areas and that sudden increases in food have negative repercussions on them since they spend more on food than male-headed households,Ã¢â‚¬Â reads the report.
According to the report, food items in January for Lilongwe, Zomba, Blantyre and Mzuzu cost K39 029, K40 949, K46 817 and K40 335 respectively. However, non-food items such as charcoal, soap, lotion, electricity, water and housing raised the costs.
The figures do not, however, include costs such as school fees, fuel or transport which are also high.
CfSC director Father Bill Turnbull disclosed that in addition to cities, their surveys will be extended to rural areas.