Minimum Expenditure Basket in Malawi – Round 18: 14th to 18th December 2020: A look at Food Prices and Availability in Times of COVID-19

Highlights
• The total value of the SMEBs for the urban areas and Rural South increased slightly, while that of the Rural North and Rural Central decreased slightly.
• The current national maize price average is MK 190/ kg, lower than the last reporting period despite nearing the peak of the lean season.
• Overall, the total SMEB remained relatively stable throughout 2020 with no major fluctuations.
Background and Context
During this reporting period, (the 14th to 18th of December 2020), Malawi resumed admission of severe cases of COVID -19 patients after about three months of no admissions. As a result, the Government of Malawi was prompted to start reinforcing stricter measures for preventing COVID-19, as many people had relaxed and stopped following them. More cases are expected to be identified in the coming weeks due to a post-holiday peak induced by travel to and from neighboring South Africa. The strict measures to be reinforced may exacerbate the effects on the economy even further. Malawi’s economy was and continues to feel the effects of COVID-19, while inflation remained within single digits throughout 2020. Most of Malawi’s revenue is generated from industries which rely on imported materials as well as agricultural production. With the resurgence of this second wave of COVID-19 and depending on the outcome of the current agricultural production, revenues may be reduced, thereby affecting the general performance of the economy in the medium-term (mid/late 2021).

Source: World Food Programme

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