Maize prices continued to decline in most markets in December 2017, slightly falling by one percent, International Food Policy Research Institute (Ifpri) monthly retail prices indicate.
The average nominal retail price in December 2017 was K87 per kilogramme (kg); over two times lower than the K229 per kg reported in December 2016.
The report also shows that maize retail prices in Malawi remain lower than those in most markets in Eastern and Southern Africa.
The bumper harvest the country experienced in the last growing season has been positively impacting inflation, which has decelerated to 7.7 percent, according to a recent update from the National Statistical Office (NSO).
The development, however, threatens the livelihoods of many farmers as oversupply has seen prices for the staple tumbling in keeping with the law of supply and demand.
Ifpri said despite the lifting of the maize export ban by government in October 2017 and issuance of maize export permits to some traders during the month of December 2017, locally, maize prices have not improved.
Farmers Union of Malawi (Fum) President, Alfred Kapichira- Banda rated the situation as a lost opportunity, partly blaming it on the prolonged export ban the Malawi government imposed after the 2016/17 harvesting period.
He said business-oriented farmers could not break even due to the situation.
“The farmers have experienced a lot of problems and in true sense, they have not enjoyed this season. Although the harvest was plenteous, the problem farmers faced was lack of a stable market and low prices,” Banda said.
Ifpri recently also estimated that the country lost about K69 billion in potential export revenue due to the maize export ban.
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