Food security

VAT-free chicken urgent as food prices rise

Every week brings another indication of the rate at which food prices are rising, and the impact this is having on poor people in particular.

Food price inflation is a global phenomenon. It was rising before Russia invaded Ukraine in February, and since then it has rocketed because of the impact of the war on grain, fuel and fertiliser supplies.

In South Africa, one of the organisations measuring food prices on a monthly basis is the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity Group (PMBEJD). Its latest Household Affordability Index shows that the price of a basic household food basket in June was up by 13.6% over the previous year.

From that information, Moneyweb extracted 15 items that have risen by 15% or more year-on-year and would hit poor people the hardest.

The list included cooking oil, some vegetables, meat products (chicken, beef and processed meats) and grains. It’s not going to stop there. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) produces a monthly global food price index. This dipped slightly in May, but was still nearly 23% above May 2021.

So here’s our monthly reminder to the South African government, because every month the issue gets more urgent.

Please drop the 15% value added tax (VAT) from the chicken portions most consumed by lower-income households.

The time for VAT-free chicken is now.