EDITORIAL: Even chicken feet becoming too expensive in SA
People who were already living on the food poverty line are finding it hard to cope with rising prices
For almost a year the global food price index compiled by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation has been on the decline, but food prices in SA simply will not budge, rising to 13.6% year on year in February.
The weakness of the rand is partly to blame as SA farmers rely heavily on imported inputs and SA is a net importer of certain foodstuffs such as wheat. Load-shedding is a big culprit too, pushing up production, processing and cooling costs in the food value chain.
The Reserve Bank’s monetary policy committee revised its food inflation forecast upwards at its latest meeting, to 9.9% in 2023, up from the 7.3% forecast in January.
The prices of staple items such as maize meal, bread and chicken are increasing at an even faster pace. A 10kg bag of frozen chicken pieces, usually a low-cost protein, was up 10% in March from a year ago. As these cuts become too expensive, people are switching to cheaper alternatives such as chicken feet and gizzards, says Mervyn Abrahams of the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice & Dignity Group.
But, he says, because so many people are having to switch, the prices of these cheaper options are starting to increase at a similar pace.
People who were already living on the food poverty line are simply not coping. Many households subsist on a diet of maize meal and sugar, which will have long-term effects on their health.
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