The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) monitors trends in staple food prices in countries vulnerable to food insecurity. For each FEWS NET country and region, the Price Bulletin provides a set of charts showing monthly prices in the current marketing year in selected urban centers and allowing users to compare current trends with both five-year average prices, indicative of seasonal trends, and prices in the previous year.
Maize, rice, and cassava are the most important food commodities. Markets selected represent the entire geographic length of the country: two markets in each of the north, center, and south. In the north, Karonga is one of the most active markets in maize and rice and is influenced by informal cross-border trade with Tanzania. Mzimba is a major maize producing area in the northern region. Salima, in the center along the lake, is an important market where some of the fishing populations are almost entirely dependent on the market for staple cereals. Mitundu is a very busy peri-urban market in Lilongwe. In the south, the Lunzu market is the main supplier of food commodities such as maize and rice for Blantyre. The Bangula market in Nsanje district was chosen to represent the Lower Shire area, covering Chikwawa and Nsanje districts.