Consumers in the rural areas of the country are paying more for food than their urban counterparts, published National Statistics Office (NSO) figures showed on Wednesday.
In its December 2021 Malawi Consumer Price Index, NSO figures show that while food has the highest year-on-year inflation rate, rural year-on-year food inflation rate stood at 14.5 percent, three percentage more than the 11.5 percent recorded in the urban areas.
According to NSO, the rural year-on-year inflation rate is 12.9 percent while for the urban, the year-on-year inflation rate was recorded at 9.7 percent.
This means that overall, the prices of goods and services in the basket for the urban areas grow at a lower rate than those in the basket for the rural areas
Reads the newsletter in part: “In the rural areas, food has the highest year-on-year inflation rate [14.5 percent] followed by housing, water and electricity [14.4 percent] and furnishing and household [14.1 percent].
“In the urban areas, food year-on-year inflation rate has the highest percentage [11.5 percent] followed by housing, water and electricity [11.3 percent] and miscellaneous [9.7 percent].” Published World Food Programme figures show that to survive, people in the rural Northern Region needed a monthly minimum of K46 211 as at December 3 2021 while food expenditure rise by 2.2 percent fueled by prices of maize grain and cooking oil.
In the rural Central Region, with food component making up over 86 percent of the total household expenditure, to survive, households needed K46 823 fueled by increases in the prices of beans (by 3.5 percent), cooking oil (by 3.7 percent), green vegetables (by 5.4 percent) and sugar (by 3.4 percent).
In the rural Southern Region, households needed a minimum of K50 015.
Mary Makosa, a Blantyre-based domestic worker with an average salary of K38 000, said it is difficult to support her parents and siblings in the village because despite her efforts, money she sends them is never enough.
“I send an average of K30 000 each month but still, it is not enough to support my family. They are barely surviving,” she says.
Consumers Association of Malawi executive director John Kapito observed that it will be difficult to fight poverty in the rural areas as the welfare of the majority worsens by day.
He said: “We need to re-look our policies if we are to tackle the worsening welfare of the people in the villages.”
Earlier, an official from NSO said unlike in urban areas, most areas in the rural communities have open markets prone to price volatility