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Recent research from the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity Group (PEJDG) shows that food prices rose by 17% over the course of 2020, going up faster than inflation for the year. In December 2020, the total price of a basket of food to feed a family in a month was at R4,002.42, marginally lower than the same basket in November (R4,018.22).

However, when comparing a like-for-like basket of goods between December 2020 and December 2019, a family would be paying almost R520 more.

Worryingly, the price hikes are being driven by a number of staple and ‘core’ foods in the basket. These are food items which are purchased first by most families in South Africa, which take priority over more ‘luxury’ items.

The PMBEJD’s research comes in the context of millions of South African households that are still struggling through the pandemic and the long-lasting effects of the national lockdown implemented almost a year ago to combat the spread of the virus in the country.

The lockdown decimated South Africa’s economy and led to record levels of unemployment and businesses closures in the country – while government aid and stimulus have been severely lacking.

As reported on, special social grants and the UIF TERS payments have slowly faded, leaving millions of South Africans without money to get by. The PMBEJD’s basket of 44 food items is what households in low-income areas have identified as necessary to feed their families in a month.

This article first appeared in Fresh Plaza. Find the original article here. Photo by gemma on Unsplash.

Relevant pages on Agribook Digital include “Food security“.

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