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Why Western Cape food prices are most stable in South Africa

11 October 2021 10:18 AM
Tags:
Food prices
basket of food

Refilwe Moloto speaks to Mervyn Abrahams,  Programme Coordinator at Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice & Dignity Group.
  • There has been a slight decrease in the basic food basket recently but year on year prices continue to escalate massively
  • The social unrest did cause a spike in food costs but this has now decreased again
  • The Western Cape food prices remain the most stable because most food is produced nearby resulting in shorter supply chains and transport costs

© lisa870/123rf.com

When you look at our basket of 44 very basic foods and look at the month at the end of September, you will see that the basket has had a slight decrease on average across all cities - but off of very high levels because the basket had spiked massively, above 3%, in Johannesburg, Pietermaritzburg, Durban, as a result of the social unrest.

Mervyn Abrahams,  Programme Coordinator - Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice & Dignity Group

He says he hopes this decrease continues.

But the cost of our basket in Johannesburg is R4,242 while in Cape Town it is R4,106 - but then you look at a little town in Springbok in the Northern Cape and there the basket has almost breached the R4,500 mark. So, it fluctuates across the country.

Mervyn Abrahams, Programme Coordinator - Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice & Dignity Group

Reasons for these fluctuations are not tied to the unrest, although that saw a spike in and of itself in areas where the unrest occurred, he explains.

The Western Cape, for example, has an inflation rate on the basket of 5.2% compared to the 9.4% average nationally.

It does show that prices in the Western Cape are more stable. Not necessarily more affordable, but more stable than in other parts of the country, and that has to do with the fact that a lot of the food that you eat in the Western Cape comes from fairly close sources.

Mervyn Abrahams, Programme Coordinator - Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice & Dignity Group

There are therefore shorter supply lines and lower transport costs.

Overall in South Africa, the basket of food has increased year-on-year he notes.

When we look year on year, we see that just about everything has increased massively.

Mervyn Abrahams, Programme Coordinator - Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice & Dignity Group

For example, 30kgs of maize meal between August and September came down by R1,66 but year on year it is still 12% higher than the previous year.

Cooking oil as well has come down by R1, 52 but it is still 29% higher than the year before.

Mervyn Abrahams, Programme Coordinator - Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice & Dignity Group

Food prices are constantly increasing way above the CPI.

Mervyn Abrahams, Programme Coordinator - Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice & Dignity Group



11 October 2021 10:18 AM
Tags:
Food prices
basket of food

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