Main staples prices were generally higher during quarter 1 of 2017 compared to the previous quarter n the region. Zambia and Malawi saw significant month-on-month (m-o-m) price decline of their main staple; from February to March. Zambia registered the highest drop in the number of markets in ALPS Crisis mode reflecting increased availability while the lifting of the maize export ban indicate the certainty of improved stocks.
However, Price of maize continued to remain above the 5 year average level with Tanzania standing high at about 94 percent. After consistently dropping during Q1-2017 to pre-2014 level, maizes prices in SA are still dropping (about 6 percent in April 2017 and lies 29 percent below the 5 year average) but at a declining pace in line with expectations. It can be anticipated that South African maize prices would stabilize around the current level soon.
Supplies of maize are expected to be average to above average this marketing year as a result of good harvest prospects for most countries in the region except Tanzania. South Africa (SA), Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi are forecast to harvest large crop of maize this marketing year according to Agricultural assessments reports. This could translate in continued price declines in the coming months across the region.