International Food Policy Research Institute (Ifpri) monthly report for March 2021 shows that maize prices went down three percent to K181 per kilogramme (kg) in February.
The price is also 44 percent lower than in March 2020, largely due to the availability of the staple grain on the market, according to the report.
The report shows that the largest price decrease was recorded at Mbayani in Blantyre and Mangochi in the Southern Region at 10 percent from K200 at the beginning of March to K180 at the end of the month, followed by Nsanje in the same region where prices went down seven percent to K173 per kg.
Maize was cheapest in Chitipa in the Northern Region at K147 per kg.
Prices remain highest in Chikwawa in the Southern Region at K220 per kg, seconded by Salima in the Central Region and Chiringa in Phalombe in the Southern Region at K200 per kg.
Reads the report in part: “Retail maize prices remained highest in the South and lowest in the North as is the usual pattern. Prices in all regions remained relatively stable during the month.
“At the end of the month, prices in the Centre were K14 per kg higher than in the North and K12 per kg lower than in the South.”
In an interview, Farmers Union of Malawi president Frighton Njolomole asked government to adjust upwards the minimum farm-gate price for maize from the current K150 per kg to K200 to enable farmers to benefit.
He argued that such an adjustment would be a good compensation and an incentive to medium and large-scale farmers who use more inputs in their production mix.
Said Njolomole: “We are compelled to think that government assumes that the cost of production for maize went down due to the Affordable Inputs Programme.
“However, data from the Ministry of Agriculture indicate that only 3.4 million households out of the targeted 3.7 million actually redeemed their inputs.”
In November last year, an assessment by the Agriculture Policy Research Africa faulted government for failing to enforce the minimum farm-gate prices, resulting in traders not abiding by the prices.