Living in food poverty

2019-07-17 06:01

THE majority of poor South African households continue to struggle to put food on the table as they grapple with the high cost of living.

According to Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity’s (EJD) latest Household Affordability Index for June, the average monthly food basket for a household with seven members had increased by R14,17 to R3 065,28.

The report states that the cost of a basket of 38 basic foods that low income households try and purchase each month increased in June 2019, while the value added tax (VAT) on the basket of food was R214,86.

“This means that seven percent of the cost of the basket is made up of VAT. This is equivalent to the cost of 34 kg of maize meal. If all basic foods were exempted from VAT, it would have meant that low income households could have purchased an additional 34 kg of maize meal.”

The report also highlighted that the cost of a nutritional basket of food for a household of four people also increased to R2 422,78. It also said that it would cost R594,29 a month to feed a child between the ages of 10 to 13 years a basic nutritious diet, while the child support grant is set at R420.

“This means that In June 2019, the child support grant is set 23% below the food poverty line. This is in a context where approximately 30% of boys and 25% of girls under the age of five years are stunted.”

The report also said that the cost of transport was eating away the value of the low wage, leaving very little money to secure food and other critical expenses.

The ever-increasing cost of electricity, burial services and school fees is also not making things easy for poverty-stricken households.

The median wage of R3 300 when spread through a household is R932,23, which is below the upper-bound poverty line of R1 183 per person.

— The Witness

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