Lilongwe, Malawi — THE prices of the staple maize grain and pulses in Malawi continue increasing as market-based demand surges and households deplete their stocks with the approach of the 2020/2021 lean season.
Prices are mainly high in urban areas and the southern rural areas.
The average price of maize has increased by 6 percent within the last fortnight.
Across markets monitored by the World Food Programme (WFP), maize grain prices were trading at a national average of MK190 (US$0,25) per kilogramme as of the second week of October 2020.
WFP noted this represents a significant jump in the price of maize since the Survival Minimum Expenditure Basket (SMEB) monitoring started in April, suggesting the beginning of the lean season.
With the purchase programme by the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) and the Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (ADMARC) underway and the approaching planting and lean season when demand is high, grain prices are expected to increase.
WFP projects the prices at around MK215 to MK250 per kg.
Statistics provided by the government and Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) indicated the southern region continued to record high maize prices per kg, estimated at MK217.9 up from MK202.2 in the first half of October 2020.
This is an increase of 7,8 percent.
The northern region of Malawi continues to register lower average maize prices with the average price of MK165,1/kg, increasing by 0,9 percent from the first half of October.
The average crop prices for the other selected crops were MK696,61 for rice. This is down from MK693,58 in the first half of October.
Beans were MK769,23 up from Mk757,76 during the period.
Groundnuts have been trading at MK759,51 up from MK737,17.
The average price of Irish potatoes is MK439,76 down from MK447,19.
Sweet potatoes are priced MK330,99 from MK340,34.
The prices of pigeon peas increased by 3 percent to MK450 while cowpeas decreased by a single percent to MK523.
WFP has forecast the price of pulses to increase further during the onset of the rainy season due to heightened demand as farmers will be buying these commodities from local markets for seeds.