Who will do something?

I would like to react to the ‘From the Editor’ column entitled ‘Don’t blame farmers for high food prices’ (25 May, pg 6).

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I have been an avid reader of your magazine since the 1960s when I was a student of agriculture at Tukkies. Normally I read your magazine from back to front. But of late, I thoroughly enjoy your ‘From the Editor’ page, often wondering whether the relevant people and parties ever take note of the editor’s accurate thoughts and facts. Regarding high food prices, I agree with her that our farmers are little to blame, but I do wonder if people (consumers) are aware of the following:

On 8 June 2012 we bought 1kg tomatoes at one of the major supermarkets for R10,99/kg, thus a ton will realise R10 990. In your 25 May issue it was reported that the producer price of tomatoes was R4 336/t. A difference of R6 654 between farm-gate prices and consumer prices. A gross difference of 153%! We also bought 1kg of young carrots at a price of R9,99, realising R9 990/t, whilst the producer price for carrots was R2 836/t, as reported in your magazine, – a difference of R7 154/t. A gross difference of 252%!

These are but two examples and one wonders who is to blame for high food prices. Supermarkets buy most, if not all their fruit and vegetables directly from producers at market-related prices. They might have some transport and handling costs but other than that, they have no other costs.

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It amazes me that no official institution has had the willpower to do something about this. Everybody complains about high food prices but little is being done about it.