• The Survival Minimum Expenditure Baskets (SMEB) for the urban areas declined while the SMEBs for rural-based households in the North, Centre, and South increased since the previous round. Reductions in the prices of maize, vegetables, sugar, and bathing soap as well the cost of milling have necessitated the fall in urban SMEB. Increases in the prices of beans, cassava, cooking oil, fish, firewood, and soap led to a rise in the SMEBs in the rural areas.
• The average price of maize grain continued falling to MK 127 per kg from MK 129 in the previous round.
• The prices of beans and cowpeas increased by 1.3 percent and 1.0 percent, respectively, while the price of pigeon peas fell by 1.9 percent compared to the previous round. The rise in the prices of beans and cowpeas may be due to reduced supply given that harvesting has ended in most areas, while most areas across the country are at the peak harvesting period for pigeon peas.
Throughout this reporting period, the country reported a surge in the number of COVID-19 positive cases, an indication of a third wave of the pandemic.
Between June 5th (end of MEB Round 30 data collection) and June 18th (end of MEB Round 31 data collection), the number of active reported cases of COVID-19 increased by over 500 percent. As a result of this surge in the number of positive COVID-19 cases, travel, and trade are being closely monitored across the country following the ease-up on restrictions that was announced on April 20th .