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Food prices rise again – no let-up in sight

Fuel and electricity hikes are factors

Picture: Joel Muniz on Unsplash

Meander Chronicle Reporter

Pressure continues to build on cash-strapped SA consumers and households.

The average Household Food Basket has increased by R98.08 (2.3%) month-on-month, and R400.83 (10.2%) year-on-year. In October 2021, the average Household Food Basket moved up to R4317.56, in line with predictions and with the trend set to continue into 2022.

This is according to the latest media release from Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity Group (PMBEJD).

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It warned that the massive electricity tariff hike of ±14.59% implemented in June and July 2021, had to result in price hikes of goods and services down the line. These increases were now being reflected in higher food prices on supermarket shelves.

Supplied

On top of this, the soaring price of Brent Crude oil – internationally, currently hovering at about 83-$85 per barrel) – inevitably meant that the local cost of fuel and transport would rise significantly.

“October further typically sees higher vegetable prices (specifically potatoes, butternut, and tomatoes) due to seasonal changes: potatoes, for example, have been harvested in the Free State and Limpopo (unfavourable weather conditions resulted in lower yields), and the next crop in KZN will be ready from December. We are also seeing some anomalies in food prices across areas, with a spike in maize meal prices in parts of Joburg and Cape Town (SA has a bumper maize crop this year), including higher milk, amasi and egg prices, higher poultry and meat prices, and bread prices in some areas.”

PMBEJD said rising food prices, which would likely continue next year, will put severe pressure on households whose incomes remain low through low baseline wages and low-level social grants and while jobs remain elusive. Higher food prices, together with higher electricity prices and taxi fare hikes, are putting enormous pressure on the household purse and the family plate.

Statistics SA’s latest Consumer Price Index, for September 2021, shows that headline inflation is 5%, and for the lowest expenditure quintiles 1-3, it is 6.6%, 6.1% and 5.,4% respectively. CPI Food inflation is 7%.

The Producer Price Index for August 2021 shows that agricultural, forestry and fishing was at 8.6%.

Read PMBEJD’s full report here

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