In response to the growing financial strain faced by citizens due to escalating food costs, Cabinet has announced its intention to address the issue.
This follows Cabinet directing the Economic Cluster to implement an action plan on food prices, food security, and access to food.
During a media briefing on Thursday, 31 August 2023, Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, shed light on the government’s response to the escalating food prices. He explained the Competition Commission has been actively monitoring the prices of essential food items since the declaration of the State of Disaster in March 2020.
Minister Ntshavheni stated, “The continuation of essential food price monitoring is motivated by the need to ensure affordable and accessible essential food products for consumers.”
Furthermore, Minister Ntshavheni drew attention to the ‘rocket and feather’ phenomenon, where food prices surge rapidly, often exceeding the actual cost increases, and subsequently decline at a slower rate even when cost pressures ease.
This pricing pattern has raised concerns about the concentrated nature of both the food and retail markets, which is believed to contribute significantly to the problem.
In light of the Competition Commission’s findings, Minister Ntshavheni revealed that Cabinet has acknowledged the recommended measures. This includes market inquiries to address structural aspects of the market leading to high food prices and limited competition.
As South Africans grapple with the financial challenges posed by surging food prices, the government’s move to establish an action plan is seen as a crucial step in alleviating this burden. With the Economic Cluster tasked with implementing this plan, the nation eagerly awaits measures that will potentially offer relief to its citizens.
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Your perspective on this matter is valued as we collectively strive for solutions to this critical issue.