Agri commodity prices set to decline

Good news for consumers and agricultural producers: prices of agricultural commodities are expected to decline over the next two years.

Agricultural economist Dr Johnny van der Merwe told Food for Mzansi that most agricultural commodity prices were already decreasing. Significant drops had been seen in international grain prices, meat prices and some vegetables and fruits.

He said it remained to be seen whether and when lower producer prices would result in lower retail prices for consumers.

However, retail prices of beef and chicken are already dropping, according to the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity Group, quoted in the same report.

Their household affordability index study for February 2023 shows that a 2kg packet of beef meat costs R12.88 less than it did in January 2023. Furthermore, a 10kg pack of frozen chicken portions costs R5.05 less in February 2023 than it did a month ago.

Food for Mzansi also featured the statement by FairPlay founder Francois Baird that increasing consumer hardship meant government should already have removed the 15% value added tax (VAT) from the chicken portions favoured by poor households.

“VAT-free chicken is a pro-poor proposal and it would bring immediate relief to lower-income households who are always hardest hit by food price rises,” Baird said.