The cost of a basic basket of food has risen 16.5% in January compared to January a year ago, with staples such as maize, samp and chicken pieces recording among the highest increases, the latest Pacsa monthly food price barometer shows. A Pacsa food basket that cost R1,797.04 in January 2016 now rings up to R2,092.95 at the till, according to survey results published on Monday. The Pacsa food basket — compiled by the Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action — is a barometer for the affordability of food and other essential household requirements for working-class households. These households typically derive their income from low wages and social grants and are exposed to high levels of unemployment.

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