South Africa
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South Africans battling to make ends meet as cost of food rises

The latest household affordability index by the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity Group shows that the cost of the average food basket has increased by R354.52 in the past year, having a knock-on effect with South Africans battling to make ends meet.

The Index, tracks food price data from 44 supermarkets and 30 butcheries in various towns and cities across the country including Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town among other areas.

Escalating costs

Of the 44 core food items mainly frequently purchased by lower income households, over 20 of these items saw price hikes.

Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity Group spokesperson Mervyn Abrahams told Newzroom Afrika the food basked has increased by 9% year on year.

“The outlook for this year is even greater increases due to high fuel prices and greater commodity prices, for instance wheat prices, soya beans prices are skyrocketing of the current Russia/Ukraine conflict.”

The average cost of the Household Food Basket is R4 355,70.

The Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity Group said in February 2022, the average cost to feed a child a basic nutritious diet was R771,95.

Year-on-year, the cost to feed a child a basic nutritious diet has increased by R61,20 or 8,6%.

Earlier this week, The South African agricultural industry association (AgriSA) sounded the alarm amidst Russia’s war on Ukraine, warning that food prices could soar in South Africa if government does not act soon.

AgriSA stated that fuel levies should be suspended to give farmers some semblance of relief, while bracing them and consumers for the global skyrocketing of food prices.

Chief economist at Agri SA, Kulani Siweya implored government to take “urgent action”, especially for small-scale farmers.

At the same time, the Energy Department said South Africans may need to ration their fuel also as a result of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The department said fuel prices globally and indeed nationally have reached unsustainable levels while in South Africa’s fuel prices has reached record levels.

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