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Zimbabwe food inflation spike cause for concern

by Staff reporter
30 Oct 2023 at 05:20hrs | Views
High food inflation in Zimbabwe is causing growing concern as it accounts for over a third of households' expenses, according to a report titled "Southern Africa Regional Supply and Market Outlook" by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FewsNet). The report emphasizes that high food price inflation is a significant regional issue, with food expenses being a significant portion of household budgets. The report also points out that some countries in the region have experienced persistently high food inflation for nearly a decade. Additionally, limited social spending due to high debt bills is restricting subsidies and social assistance, exacerbating access constraints.

Annual inflation in Zimbabwe fell to 18.4% in September from 77% in August. Month-on-month inflation was 1% in September and increased to 2.5% in the following month. The depreciation of domestic currencies against the US dollar and increasing lending rates have led to rising import costs, which contribute to inflation. The report suggests that rising fuel costs and increasing prices for fertilizers may lead to reduced fertilizer use by farmers, potentially resulting in lower yields and unmarketable produce, further contributing to food inflation. Additionally, further increases in crude oil prices will intensify imported inflation pressures in domestic markets if weaker domestic currencies persist.

The Total Consumption Poverty Line in Zimbabwe increased from ZWL$95,462.53 in September to ZWL$105,072 in October for one person. The report also indicates that Zimbabwe is expected to be self-sufficient in maize, with surplus maize production in South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe, though Malawi is expected to have a minor deficit.

In summary, high food inflation in Zimbabwe is a pressing issue as food accounts for a significant portion of households' expenses. The report underscores the impact of persistently high food inflation, limited social spending, and increasing import costs on access to affordable food in the region.

Source - newsday
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