A food security outlook report by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (Fewsnet) has established that average maize prices continue to stabilise owing to stable supplies on the markets.
The report has attributed the stable prices to above-average production of the staple grain realised in the 2016/17 harvests and the maize export ban that government earlier this year effected.
The report comes at a time when farmers and traders have recently been in conflict with government over the maize export ban which was lifted this week by President Peter Mutharika, arguing that despite pushing the farmers to practise good farming methods to maximize profits, government still puts restrictions that are not favourable to the farmers.
But Fewsnet highlights in the report that the actual benefits of the ban that government had put, which has ensured enough stock in the country’s grain reserves, will be witnessed in due time in regards to the pricing.
“At K102.90 per kilogramme (kg), the national average in September price was 14 percent below the five year average and 53 percent lower than the average price in September 2016. As of late October, the government announced a lift in the maize export ban. The actual impact of the end of this ban may take some time before it is reflected in food prices,” reads the report in part.
Further, the report states that opening stocks are also above average, owing to exceptionally high levels of maize imports from neighbouring Zambia and private traders during the previous marketing season and that carryover stocks reported by the Strategic Grain Reserve (SGR) and Agricultural Development Marketing Corporation (Admarc) are approximately 136 000 metric tonnes.
Fewsnet’s integrated maize price projections further indicate that national average prices will remain significantly below the five-year average and are expected to follow seasonal trends until March 2018.
Fewsnet is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity providing analysis on 34 countries , including Malawi.