Minimum Expenditure Basket in Malawi - Round 21: 25th to 29th January 2021 - A look at Food Prices and Availability in Times of COVID-19

Originally published



• The SMEBs for the urban areas, the Rural Central, and the Rural South have slightly decreased at the end of January (4th week) compared to the last reporting period (2nd week of January), on account of a decrease in the prices of maize. While the SMEB for the Rural North has slightly increased due to the increase in price of pulses and oil.

• Decreases were observed in the prices of maize grain across the country as ADMARC markets start selling grain at MK160 per kilogram, with the national average maize grain price dipping to MK 188/kg.

• The prices of all three types of pulses monitored (beans, cowpeas, and pigeon peas) increased during the 21st round of data collection as a result of the depletion of stocks from the last harvest.

Background and Context

During the last week of January 2021, the number of people testing positive for COVID -19 remained high, with an average of 7 deaths per day according to a statement made by the president on the 17th of January 2021 during his national address. In addition to urging people to wash hands, wear masks, and practice social distancing, the President ordered the closure of schools (initially for two weeks but now extended for an additional two) to further mitigate the spread of COVID19. The president further directed the Minister of Justice to gazette some guidelines as recommended by the ministerial committee convened by the vice president.
Among other things, the gazette will include giving a fine to anyone not wearing a mask in a public place, closure of markets and drinking places no later than 5 and 8pm, respectively, and mandating that employers organise work shifts if their work requires a physical presence.