The average national maize prices are expected to rise by 55 percent between October and December this year, the latest Famine Early Warning System Network (Fewsnet) report has indicated.
This development is expected to put pressure on households and trigger a rapid rise in inflation rate, which is currently at 23 percent as of August, according to National Statistical Office (NSO).
As if that is not enough, the report has also projected a rise of between 20 percent and 50 percent in alternative food crops such as cereals, pulses and cassava.
The report explained that based on month-to-month price trends, average national maize prices will likely be about 50 percent above the three-year average between July and September, rising to about 55 percent above the three-year average between October and December 2015.
It said the national average price of maize was K116 per kilogramme (kg) which is 41 percent higher compared to July 2014 price.
Reads the report: “These significant increases may be attributed to the 30.2 percent reduction in maize production over the previous production season across the country as reported by the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development.
“Prices for maize increased by a range of 11 percent and 14 percent in Malawi’s northern reference markets. Prices in central Malawi were stable apart from Salima District where an increase of about eight percent was recorded.”
The report further said maize prices in Southern Region increased by a range of 10 percent to 11 percent between June and July this year.
Fewsnet has since warned that poor households in Lake Chilwa-Phalombe Plain (Phalombe, Zomba, Mulanje, Chiradzulu, Machinga), Shire Valley (Nsanje and Chikwawa), Middle Shire Valley (Balaka, Neno and Blantyre) and Thyolo-Mulanje tea estates livelihood zone and Southern lake livelihood zone which covers Mangochi may food crisis between October and December this year due to reduced production and limited labour supply coupled with high food prices in local markets.
Last week, local welfare monitoring body, Centre for Social Concern (CfSC), in its August 2015 report, indicated that a 50 kilogramme (kg) bag of maize in Nsanje and some parts of the Shire Valley is K10 000 ($ 17.85), in Zomba K9 000 ($ 16.07), Blantyre K7 500 ($ 13.39) where as in Rumphi, it is being bought at K6 500 ($ 11.6).
This year, Malawi has registered a 30.2 percent drop in maize output, with a deficit of 223 723 metric tonnes largely due to the combined effects of floods and drought.
The 2015 Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (Mvac) Report shows that around 2.8 million Malawians, face starvation in 25 of the country’s 28 districts.