Food prices will go up at the end of the year

Towards the end of 2015 South Africans will start paying more for food.

This is according to Dr Simphiwe Ngqangweni, senior manager of the National Agricultural Marketing Council Markets and Economic Research Centre.

Speaking at the launch of the NAMC 2014 food price review on Monday (16 November), Ngqangweni said it was difficult to speculate on how much food prices will increase.

The looming food price increases were primarily the result of local dry weather conditions. However, factors such as higher electricity and fuel prices would also begin filtering into the food value chain.

Christo Joubert, agricultural economist at the NAMC, said the rate of increase in food prices was high in 2014. The average food inflation rate for 2014 was 7,6%, compared with 5,8% in 2013.

NAMC statistics indicate that Limpopo experienced the highest food inflation (8,3%) from December 2013 to December 2014. Next came KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape (both at 6,9%).

The milk, eggs and cheese category showed the largest increase of 12,3% from 2013 to 2014. This was followed by a 9,7% rise in the price of fruit, while consumers paid 9,4% more for meat. Fish increased by 8% and bread and cereals by 4,9%.

The retail price for frozen chicken portions went up by 9,1% between 2013 and 2014. The price of fresh whole chickens and fresh chicken portions increased by 9% and 6,6% respectively over the same period.

In 2014 consumers in rural areas paid 8,1% more on average for a 700g loaf of brown bread and 8,6% more for a 700g loaf of white bread. Urban consumers paid 8% more for brown bread and 8,2% for white bread. Rural South Africans paid 10,2% more in 2014 for a 2,5 kg of special maize meal than they did in 2013.