Consumers in rural areas in the Northern Region have been hit the hardest by rising commodity prices as figures from the World Food Programme (WFP) show a 12.6 percent rise in household survival minimum expenditure basket (Smeb).
Smeb is defined as the absolute minimum amount required to maintain existence and cover lifesaving needs, which could involve the deprivation of certain human rights.
A WFP Smeb in Malawi published on Monday showed that following the rise in goods prices in early April, consumers in the Northern Region are spending an additional K6 031 on top of K53 816 per month to survive.
Reads the analysis in part: “During this round, rural households experienced increases in Smeb while in the urban areas, expenditure remained unchanged. The rising inflation rate significantly pushed prices upwards for essential commodities in the country.
“It is expected that the prices of key food commodities will remain elevated throughout 2022 due to these external economic shocks as well as the adverse effects of the two co-variate climate shocks experienced this year, flooding and prolonged dry spells.”
Consumers Association of Malawi executive director John Kapito said consumers have been heavily hit by the continued rising in the cost of living.
“All of a sudden, things have fallen apart as almost everything has gone up with no cushioning mechanisms for the ordinary consumer,” he said.
WFP data shows that between end March 2022 and early April 2022, the price of maize and cooking oil increased by an average of 8.9 percent while fish prices also increased by 7.1 percent.