Retail average maize prices declined by four percent in January to K205 per kilogramme (kg) despite prices in the Southern Region remaining higher than in the Northern and Central regions, a new market report shows.
In its monthly market report for January 2021, the International Food Policy Research Institute (Ifpri) says this is an unusual pattern given the onset of the lean season.
The largest price decrease was recorded in Mwanza in the Southern Region at 17 percent from K250 per kg in December 2020 to K207 per kg followed by Lunzu in Blantyre at 13 percent (K200 per kg).
In Rumphi in the Northern Region, the price declined by 10 percent to K160 per kg, which was the cheapest of all the places in the country.
Reads the Ifpri report: “Maize prices rose in three markets, one in each region of the country. During this period, 17 markets recorded price declines and prices stayed constant in six markets.
“The largest price increase was recorded in Salima in the Central Region [10 percent] while the largest price decline was recorded in Mwanza market [17 percent].”
The report further says that the average retail maize price in January was K205 per kg, which was 35 percent lower than the same time last year and three percent higher than in December 2020.
The price is K5 above the minimum farm-gate price set by the Ministry of Agriculture.
Ifpri says retail maize prices remained highest in the Southern Region, with the highest being Bangula in Nsanje at K234 per kg while at Nsanje Boma, the price was K230 per kg.
“Prices in the North also fell slightly in the first week of January, but bounced back in the second week of the month. In the final week of January, prices in the North and South declined significantly but remained stable in the Centre,” reads the report
By the end of January, according to the report, prices of the staple grain in the Central Region were K13 higher than in the Northern Region and K22 lower than in the South Region.
On January 24, President Lazarus Chakwera, in his weekly address, said the reduction of the price of maize at Admarc will ensure that those who are losing income-generating activities due to the Covid-19 pandemic are guaranteed food at an affordable price.