The household food basket has increased by 10% in one year, cutting the budget for nutritious food for poor children even before the increases in fuel and food prices due to the war in Ukraine. The food basket for March already shows significant increases in the prices of cake flour, cooking oil, eggs, tea and bread, as well as cornmeal, rice and white sugar.
This means that children’s food poverty, malnutrition, stunting, poor cognitive and physical growth, illness and ill health, inability to concentrate, difficulties in functioning and adapting to society will all worsen. Very.
According to key data from the Household convenience index of March 2022 compiled by the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity Group, which tracks price data for 44 supermarkets and 30 butchers in Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town, Pietermaritzburg and Springbok, the average cost of the food basket was R4,450.09 in March .
This is an increase of R94.39 (2.2%) from R4,355.70 in February 2022 to R4,450.09 in March 2022. The average cost of the food basket also increased by R410.53 (10, 2%), from R4,039.56 in March 2021 to R4, 450.09 in March 2022, while the prices of 33 of the 44 products also increased in all areas.
The Johannesburg basket increased by R86.64 compared to February, by R16.22 in Durban, by R151.38 in Cape Town, by R163.87 in Springbok and R51.95 in Pietermaritzburg. Women from low-income families conduct the price survey where they shop.
These foods in the food bin are now more expensive
In the last year, these price increases have been recorded:
- 10 kg of flour for cakes: from R94.56 to R101.72
- 5 liters of cooking oil: from R109.82 to R150.81
- 60 eggs: from R99.14 to R114.28
- 250 g of tea: from R22.89 to R24.47
- 25 loaves of white bread: R333.59 to R355.42
- 25 loaves of black bread: R303.94 to R323.453
- 30 kg of corn flour: from R240.93 to R244.20
- 10 kg of white sugar: from R158.19 to R166.51.
However, this is not the end of the price increases. The group says raising the price of Brent crude oil, an input in everything from farm to table, including the higher cost of imported wheat, sunflower oil, and other food and agricultural inputs, will drive prices up. while the war continues.
The group tracks prices in the first week of the month and since then the conflict in Ukraine has intensified.
“The outlook for food prices, specifically related to the rise in the price of crude oil and wheat, as well as other cereals, grains, legumes and oil, combined with higher fuel and electricity tariffs, are likely to be very serious for South Africa “.
Minimum wage increase no aid with food basket
The national minimum wage (NMW) increase in March of R1.50 per hour (from R21.69 to R23.19 per hour), R12 per day and R264 per month based on a 22-day working month it will help reduce – income consumers can afford more nutritious food, and the group says it is unlikely to alleviate the suffering of workers considering the difficulties still to come this year, but it will likely deepen it.
The maximum NMG for a generic worker is now R4,081.44. Transportation to work and back will cost a worker on average R1,408. Add to that electricity at an average of R731.50 and a basic but nutritious food basket at R3,092.25. Together, these three main expenses amount to R5,231.75.
Low-income consumers pay for transportation and electricity before they even think about buying food, and according to the group’s calculations, working-class families will spend less on food by a low of 37.2% this month after. ‘rise in NMW and before the impact of many the rise in fuel prices, food prices and new electricity tariffs come crashing down on them.
“The government has provided an extra R1.50 per hour reserve for the millions of South African workers who use their wages not only to provide for their families but also the millions of unemployed. It will only take a short time for this buffer to be eviscerated. “
Nutritious food for children unattainable
The group’s survey found that the average cost of feeding a child a basic nutritious diet was R787.99 in March, an increase of R65 or 9% from March last year. With the Child Support Grant of R460 pegged at 26% below the Food Poverty Line of R624 and 42% below the average cost of feeding a child a basic nutritious diet of R787.99, it is clear that children of this country are in trouble.
The government has increased the child support subsidy by only R20 since April, an increase of 4.3%. The cost of feeding a child a nutritious diet increased by R16.04 compared to February. When the R20 subsidy increase is implemented in April, it will move the R480 subsidy from 26% below the R624 food poverty line to 23% below the food poverty line.