Maize prices declined by between five to 30 percent in May with a kilogramme (kg) selling at an average of K134, K16 below the recommended K150 threshold.
According to published Famine and Early Warning Systems June 2021 Malawi Food Security Outlook, at K134 per kg, retail maize prices were also lower than Admarc’s current selling price of K160 per kg.
Reads the Fewsnet report in part: “Food prices have generally continued to decrease alongside the progression of harvesting in recent months.
“In May 2021, retail prices of maize averaged K134 per kg at the national level and were lower than the government-set minimum farm-gate price of K 150 per kg in most markets, though above-average maize production is generally expected to compensate farmers for the lower selling prices.”
On the informal market, informal imports of maize grain in April 2021 decreased by 39 percent relative to the previous month, largely due to above-average local production at the start of the new marketing year.
However, at 3 131 metric tonnes (MT), informal maize grain imports in April were 27 percent above five-year average for that month. As is typical, no significant informal exports were reported, with only 62 MT exported to Mozambique.
Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security figures show that Malawi’s opening maize stocks in April 2021 were 462 239 MT, about 87 percent above the five-year average and 80 percent above last year.
The opening stocks estimate comprises 302,857 MT of on-farm stocks, 20,000 MT of private traders’ stocks, 97 400 MT of Admarc stocks, and 41 982 MT of stocks in the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA)’s Strategic Grain Reserves (SGR).
Additionally, maize production in 2021 is estimated at 4.5 million MT, 27 percent higher than the estimated national requirement of 3.5 million MT, which includes needs for consumption, livestock feed, seed stocks, and replenishment of national reserves.
Meanwhile, in anticipation of a maize surplus, Malawi and South Sudan signed a trade agreement that will see the country exporting its surplus food to the latter.
Minister of Trade Sosten Gwengwe earlier said Malawi is looking forward to export food to offset this year’s cereals surplus, estimated at 1.2 million tons.
Maize, as part of the consumer price index, contributes 42.5 percent to the inflation basket.