Food Retail Price Dynamics during Covid-19 Lockdown

Date: October 28, 2020
Time: 10h00 - 12h30
Venue: Live on Zoom & Facebook

Register here or watch live on Facebook.

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.

Key questions:

  • What do lockdown food price dynamics mean for the state’s mandate to regulate the food economy to guarantee the constitutional right to food?
  • What is the case for local and provincial governments adopting innovative food price monitoring methodologies?
  • What are the regulatory enablers and hurdles for more transparent and equitable food price formation?

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.

PMBEJD will be hosting a separate webinar introducing its household affordability index on 15 October.

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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.


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