Minimum Expenditure Basket in Malawi - Round 30: 1st to 5th June 2021 - A look at Food Prices and Availability in Times of COVID-19

Originally published



  • Since the previous round, the Survival Minimum Expenditure Baskets (SMEBs) for the rural North and the rural Centre increased, while the SMEB for the urban areas declined. No significant change was observed in SMEB for the rural South. Increases in the prices of maize grain and firewood caused an increase in the SMEB for the rural North, while increases in the prices of cassava, fish, and firewood led to a rise in the SMEB in the rural Centre. The decrease in the SMEB for urban areas arose from decreases in the prices of charcoal and bathing soap.

  • The national average maize grain price further decreased to MK 129 per kg from MK 130 in Round 29. The June 2021 ban by Zimbabwe—one of the primary maize exporter markets for Malawi—on the importation of maize grain and other products may have triggered a reduction in the prices of maize grain in local markets (due to over availability).

  • The prices of beans marginally decreased by 0.3 percent, while the prices of cowpeas and pigeon peas both fell by 2 percent compared to the previous round. The continued fall in the prices of beans and cowpeas may be due to the increased supply of green beans from winter-irrigated farming, while the harvesting of pigeon peas has just peaked in most parts of the country.


During this reporting period, the country continued administering COVID-19 vaccinations as part of its national campaign, which was launched by the State President on the 11th of March, with the vaccine now available to anyone over the age of 18. During the same period, the Government also officially started administering the second dose of the vaccine.

Throughout this reporting period, the number of reported COVID-19 positive cases continued to decline. Between May 23rd (end of MEB Round 29 data collection) and June 5th (end of MEB Round 30 data collection), the number of active reported cases of COVID-19 decreased by approximately 23 percent. Across the nation, an uptick in movements, travel, and trade are being observed in response to the low caseload coupled with the ease-up on restrictions that was announced on April 20th.