The Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity Group (PMBEJD) says hunger, debt, unemployment, violence, poverty and inequality have escalated since the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in South Africa.

The group says its food basket project research has shown the negative financial impact on poor households due to food price increases.

PMBEJD Coordinator Mervyn Abrahams says, “Ever since we started collecting the prices of a basket of 44 very basic foods, the prices of these goods have progressively increased. When we entered into the lockdown in March, we saw a major spike and since then, the prices have not spiked at that level, but it has continued the trajectory and we see our basket has increased by R196 or 5.7% just month on month…”

Inequality has escalated since the COVID-19 pandemic began:

COVID-19 In Numbers | Focus on food

In 2020, the pandemic deepened poverty across different parts of the world and increased hunger and malnutrition among some of the most vulnerable people around the world.

Children were among the most vulnerable members in societies.

The COVID-19 pandemic left more children stunted and more children around the world are now classified as “wasting” – symptom of acute under-nutrition.

The global economy was expected to further decline in 2020 as the income of people around the world continued to be affected.

According to the World Health Organization , World Food Safety Day, which took place on 7 June 2020, is aimed at drawing attention to food security issues and to inspire action to help prevent, detect and manage food-borne risks, contributing to food security, human health, economic prosperity, agriculture, market access, tourism and sustainable development.

Focus on food:

Data shows a shocking increase in the average cost of the basic household food basket: