Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Minister Thoko Didiza said government interventions are in place to insulate poor households from hunger and chronic poverty amid rising food prices.
“The overall objective of these programmes is to expand domestic food production through strengthening subsistence (vulnerable and household producers), smallholder and medium commercial producers to ensure basic food availability and livelihoods resilience at household level as well as to retain self-employment in the agriculture sector,” she said.
Didiza was responding to parliamentary questions from EFF MP Sam Matiase, who asked what she found to be the impact of rising food prices on farmers, producers and emerging small-scale farmers, as well as the steps taken to insulate poor households from hunger and chronic poverty.
StatsSA recently announced annual inflation for food and non-alcoholic beverages (NAB) stood at 11%, with most food and NAB components recording lower inflation rates in June, with the exception of vegetables, fruit, and sugar, sweets and desserts.
Annual consumer price inflation was 5.4% in June 2023, down from 6.3% in May 2023.
The consumer price index increased by 0.2% in June 2023.
Didiza said her department was supporting subsistence producers through the Presidential Employment Stimulus (PES).
“Rising food prices are regarded by the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development as one of the major drivers for food access challenges in the country.
“According to the NAMC’s monthly food price monitor, the nominal cost of the 28-item urban food basket increased by 10.1% in May 2023 compared to May 2022, costing R1182.76 versus R1073.86 in 2023.”
Didiza said during this period, vegetables contributed the most to the observed food inflation, followed by dairy and eggs.