Access to food depends largely on incomes and food prices. South Africans have long been facing ongoing food price increases exceeding inflation. At the same time as Covid-19 lockdown regulations caused a widespread loss of jobs and income, various reports suggested that food price increases were taking place across the country, exacerbating food insecurity. Following allegations of unfair price increases, the Competition Commission initiated an essential food price monitoring project.
The resulting report confirms initial price increases linked to the depreciation of the Rand, initial panic buying and opportunistic price-gouging. It also raises concerns whether, with the easing of lockdown, upstream food price decreases will cascade to consumers, and to what extent formal retail corporations and fresh produce market arrangements influence food prices.
In this gathering, we will discuss the Competition Commission’s findings as well as key insights from innovative methodologies and approaches developed by Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity, with particular emphasis on the implications for food systems governance.
Mervyn Abrahams (Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity) and Jason Aproskie (Competition Commission).
Reports and presentations from the previous CoP meetings can be found here. Click below to listen to a podcast based on the CoP meeting on Informal food traders on 28th April.
We recognise that producers, processors, distributors and consumers are incorporated into the food system under varying terms and returns. We also recognise the economic, social, human and environmental health impacts associated with food security. Therefore our goal is to conduct research, build capacity and disseminate findings that will promote a sustainable food system in South Africa.
Our research is concerned with the scale, nature, causes and consequences of food insecurity in South Africa and elsewhere on the African continent. Thus our mission is to investigate products, technologies, processes and policies that can reduce food insecurity and mitigate its negative outcomes. We seek to make a difference to food security by linking innovative science with critical enquiry.