Food costs 13% more than a year ago, says economic justice and dignity group
South Africans are paying nearly R5,000 for a basic food basket — R570 more than a year ago.
The latest household affordability index, compiled by the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice & Dignity Group (PMBEJD), shows the average cost of a basket has increased by R572.64 (13.1%) — from R4,335.70 in February 2022 to R4,928.34 in February 2023.
The index tracks food price data from 44 supermarkets and 30 butcheries in Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town, Pietermaritzburg and Springbok in the Northern Cape.
Foods which increased in price in February 2023 by 5% or more include maize meal, samp, butternut, spinach, cabbage, green peppers and oranges.
Rice, salt, soup, tomatoes, bananas and apples increased by 2% or more.
PMBEJD coordinator Mervyn Abrahams said the average cost to feed a child increased by R92.11 in the past year, now costing R864.06 a month for a basic nutritious diet.
Abrahams said child support grants are being used to buy food for children.
“Government has decided to increase the child support grant by R20 in April. This is an increase of 4.2%, while consumer price index (CPI) food inflation is 13.8%.”
In October the government will add R10 to the grant.
“Government’s decision is not bad simply because for six months of 2023 our children’s nutrition and health will not be protected from high food price inflation, but because the rand value of the grant is already set too low and far below the food poverty line, making the annual percentage increase a very small increment, essentially meaning children will not be protected for the entire 2023/24 period.”
Abrahams said at R510, the child support grant will still be 23.1% below the food poverty line of R663 and lower still when updated food poverty lines are issued later this year.
“Though this will get worse each month, the R510 off our current February data of the cost to feed a child a proper nutritious diet will come in at 41% short of the R864.06 expenditure required.”
PMBEJD has called for the R30 to be given in April, instead of being split.
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