Drought is a main driver in food price increases

The Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action says South Africans are being forced to eat cheaper, less healthy food, and get into debt to buy groceries.

PACSA, which has been monitoring food prices since 2006, found that a food basket comprising starchy foods; sugar, beans, oil, milk, meat, fish and vegetables costed R1797 in January. But in March, the same basket cost R1869.

Other foods tracked by PACSA between November and March also demonstrated a sharp increase. For example a 10kg pocket of potatoes rose from R35 to R60.32, and four liters of cooking oil rose from R70.66 to R89.98.

Speaking on the Afternoon Drive show, Ronald Rambulana, CEO of National Agricultural Marketing Council says his organisation is working together with government to make sure that these increases don't affect people in lower income groups.

Rambulana says government will increase grants, and work together with supermarkets to not increase basic food products, such as bread and maize meal.

Listen to the interview below...

It's correct that due to this drought we have seen almost double digits increases of food prices, and when you look at people in the lower LSMs, who spend most of their income on food, they can't buy some of the basic food items they used to afford.

Ronald Rambulana, CEO of National Agricultural Marketing Council of South Africa

Drought is one of the issues, and obviously some of the administered prices. But drought is the big driver.

Ronald Rambulana, CEO of National Agricultural Marketing Council of South Africa

There are a lot of people in South Africa who have seen a drought like this. So, it's not unusual (that we have high food increase) because we have not see something like this in hundred years.

Ronald Rambulana, CEO of National Agricultural Marketing Council of South Africa

So people in lower LSMs tend to buy in small corner shops, as compared in higher LSMs who buy in super markets. So food prices when they increase, you will find that increases are much higher in smaller corner shops compared to super markets.

Ronald Rambulana, CEO of National Agricultural Marketing Council of South Africa
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