Food more expensive in rural areas in SA
Business Day - May 30th 2012, 08:46
Rural consumers paid more than their urban counterparts for the same food basket last month, according to the Food Price Monitor compiled by the National Agriculture Marketing Council.
This comes amid efforts by the departments of rural development and land reform, and agriculture, forestry and fisheries to encourage home gardens and distribute food parcels to desperate villagers in a bid to alleviate poverty and reduce hunger.
The April Food Price Monitor, released yesterday, found rural communities paid R14,89 more than urban consumers for the same food basket — far higher than the R2,37 extra reported in March.
Rural shoppers paid R8,24 more than their urban counterparts for 5kg of maize meal, also significantly higher than the price difference in April last year.
"A loaf of white bread, a loaf of brown bread, 750ml sunflower oil and Ceylon/black tea were the only items for which rural consumers paid less than urban consumers in April," the report said.
Andre Jooste, senior manager for markets, economics and research at the Agriculture Marketing Council, said the poorest third of the population had spent 34,1% of their income on the food basket in April last year. This rose to 38,7% last month.
Johannes Möller, AgriSA president, said it was unacceptable that many people still experienced hunger due to high levels of unemployment and poverty.
"This poses a challenge to the government, the private sector and organisations of civil society to complement each other’s endeavours in the fight against hunger," Mr Möller said.
Poor households should be encouraged to supplement their diets with food that they produced themselves, he said.
High food prices were also caused by the cost of administered prices, such as electricity and water, which were discouraging future investment in agriculture, Mr Möller said.
According to the April consumer price index (CPI), released by Statistics SA early this month, food and nonalcoholic beverages inflation was 8,7%. H eadline CPI increased by 6,1% between April last year and last month.
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