Research group denounces exorbitant, unethical increase in food prices during pandemic

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The Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity research group (PMBEJD) says there has been an exorbitant and unethical increase in food prices during the coronavirus pandemic.

The non-profit organisation has published its latest Household Affordability Index, detailing price changes for basic and essential food items across South Africa.

The January 2021 index shows that a food basket consisting of 44 prioritised food items has increased marginally by 1.2% or R49 since December 2020.

The Group’s Mervyn Abrahams says, “Over the year we have seen prices increase well above Consumer Price Inflation (CPI) inflation. But when we look from September 2020 to January of 2021, we see that our basket of food has increased by R109,86 or 5.1% and that the basket now stands at R4 051,20. There are major ethical questions around increasing food particularly in this time of the pandemic.”

PMBEJD says over the past five months (between September 2020 and January 2021), the average cost of the Household Food Basket increased by R194,86 (5,1%).

In the video below, Prof Murray Leibbrandt speaks about the significant increase in food prices during lockdown: