Minimum Expenditure Basket in Malawi - Rounds 41: 1-5 November 2021 - A Look at Food Prices and Availability in Times of COVID-19

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• The Survival Minimum Expenditure Baskets (SMEBs) hit record highs since April 2020. During this reporting period, the urban SMEB rose by 2.0 percent. SMEBs in the rural areas of the Northern, Central and Southern Regions also increased by 5.7 percent, 6.3 percent, and 2.5 percent, respectively. The SMEBs increased mainly due to the rising cost of living in the country. The notable goods whose prices significantly increased during this round include cooking oil, cassava, soap, charcoal and firewood.

• The price of maize grain dipped by 3.3 percent to MK 146 per kg compared to the October round as the farming season approaches. The average price decreased from the previous round’s price of MK 151 per kg, selling at below the Government’s set minimum price of MK 150 per kg. During this period, farmers are offloading their stocks on the market to get cash for the purchase of farm inputs in anticipation of the start of the rainy season, which often results in temporary price decreases.

• The price of beans remained relatively stable, increasing by solely 0.78 percent from an average of MK 1,082 per kg in the previous round to a record high price observed since February 2021 of MK 1,090 per kg • Cowpea and pigeon pea prices have also increased since the last round.
Cowpeas were selling at MK 620 per kg, increasing by 2.3 percent from MK 605 per kg in the last round. The price of pigeon peas significantly rose by 6.3 percent to MK 546 per kg from MK 514 per kg in the previous round.