Food price inflation remains high, says BFAP

South Africa’s food price inflation is more than double the consumer price inflation index, according to the Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP).

The BFAP’s monthly food price inflation report showed that, while food price inflation dipped slightly in April 2023, it remained at a very high 13.9% year on year.

The consumer price index (CPI) also dipped in April, but was at a far lower rate of 6.8%.

Year-on-year inflation 2022 & 2023 – CPI Headline and Food and non-alcoholic beverages.
Source: Stats SA, May 2023. Graph courtesy of BFAP.

This has been South Africa’s problem for the past year. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 sent global commodity prices soaring, and feed, fuel and fertiliser price increases made everything much more expensive all around the world.

Commodity prices have moderated, and global food prices have dropped for most of the past year, according to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO). But not in South Africa.

A graph produced by the BFAP shows that CPI inflation peaked in mid 2022, and has been declining since then. Food price inflation, on the other hand, rose rapidly from April last year and just kept on rising.

Millions of South Africans go to bed hungry, as shown by figures from StatsSA. In 2021, 2.6 million households reported that their access to food was inadequate, and for 1.1 million households access was severely inadequate.

That was two years ago, and the year-long food price spike will have made things worse. Despite child support, food grants and basic income support, more South Africans are more desperate every month.