Average retail maize prices in May dropped by 13 percent compared to the month of March due to the onset of the main maize harvest in the Central Region, according to a published report by the International Food Policy Research Institute (Ifpri).
The report found that maize was selling at an average price of K169 per kilogramme (kg) in April compared to K180 per kg in March this year.
The report stated that by the end of April, retail prices in all markets except Chitipa, Karonga, Rumphi, Mzuzu, and Mitundu were higher than the minimum farm gate price of K150 per kg announced by government in mid-April 2019.
Reads the report in part: “Maize prices, however, were highest in the South, as is usually the case as the average price in the Southern Region was K21 per kg higher than in the Centre. Similarly, prices in the central region were K9 per kg higher than in the Northern Region by the end of April. Prices in all regions slightly increased during the first-half of April but gradually declined during the second-half of the month.
“Out of 16 markets Ifpri monitors, Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation [Admarc]sales were reported in 14 markets: only Lunzu and Liwonde markets did not report Admarc sales during April. In the remaining markets, Admarc was selling maize at K150 per kg. No Admarc purchases were reported in any of the 16 markets monitored.”
This year’s maize harvest is expected to increase by 24 percent compared to 2017/18 harvest, according to the second round of 2018/2019 Agricultural Production Estimates (Apesi) released by the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Water Development in April 2019.
Grain Traders Association of Malawi president Grace Mijiga said the findings could be a true reflection, saying as grain traders they noted a slump in prices which hovered between K120 and K140 per kg.
She said: “There are two faces to the market situation, from the traders point of view you should understand that those prices are fair. Maize that is being sold is not completely dry from harvesting up to May the moisture content is quite high. When you buy such maize to the time of selling you will notice it will have lost amount of weight.
“So, from the traders’ point of view you will find that it is a fair price for better return on investment few months later. For a farmers’ point of view, they are the ones making profits because they are not going to lose the weight shed over time if they were going to hold it for some months.