Malawi

Minimum Expenditure Basket in Malawi - Round 25: 22nd to 26th March 2021 - A look at Food Prices and Availability in Times of COVID-19

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Highlights

• The SMEB for the urban areas and all three rural areas decreased slightly during the fourth week of March 2021 compared to the previous reporting period (second week of March 2021), mainly due to decreases in the prices of food commodities from agricultural production.

• Maize prices decreased significantly in Round 25 of data collection, with the current average national price observed at MK 154 per kilogram, which is 46 percent lower than its respective 2020 level and 12 percent lower than the five-year average for this same period. This price decrease has been induced by the continued offloading of trader’s maize stocks from the previous season as the harvest period begins.

• For the last three consecutive rounds, the price of beans has continued to decrease, likely as a result of fresh consumption from the current growing season and increased market supplies. At the same time, the prices for cowpeas and pigeon peas did not change due to limited production and the prolonged maturity period before harvest, respectively.

Background and Context

During this reporting period, the country continued administering COVID-19 vaccinations, the campaign for which was launched by the State President on the 11th of March. The Government identified priority groups who were among the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
These included health care workers working in both public and the private sector, the police, immigration officials, the Malawi Defence Force, teachers, prison warders, prisoners, citizens above 60 years of age, and people with underlying conditions.

Throughout this reporting period, the number of reported COVID-19 positive cases continued to decline in the country, with a decrease by 59 percent of new recorded COVID-19 cases observed between the 2nd and 3rd weeks of March compared to the cases recorded in the last week of February and first week of March.
Despite this, the State of National Disaster which was declared on the 12th of January 2021, remain in effect as the Government attempts to prevent a third wave.