USAID: People Are Spending More On Food, But They Are Eating Worse

The USAID has said that Zimbabweans are now spending more of their incomes on food as prices continue increasing.  

This was said by Jason Taylor the USAID chief office humanitarian assistance and resilience in Zimbabwe. Taylor was speaking at a public discussion forum on the economic decline and food insecurity crisis in Zimbabwe held in Washington DC, US, last Wednesday. Taylor said:

We have experienced in Zimbabwe a steady macroeconomic deterioration for a period of years and things are now just starting to bite. This deterioration is categorised most recently by price spikes, which immediately followed fiscal and monetary policies implemented by the government last October. We have seen price increases for imported goods that are exacerbated by the falling value of the local currency.

Inflation is now at 66,8% as of March. This is the official rate and this is up from 59,4% in February, a significant increase in one month. Informal estimates are much higher, so no matter how you are looking at it, it is not a good picture. This inflation impact is severe for ordinary Zimbabweans who have seen prices rise, but wages are not keeping up.

Even if wages are rising, they are not competing with the prices that we are seeing… So, in 2016, the average poor household in urban areas spent 28% of their income on food. In 2018, that had risen to 44%. Let me let that sink in a bit. Twenty eight percent to 44%, that is a startling increase, and yet household dietary diversity is worse. So, put bluntly, people are spending more on food, but they are eating worse.

Prices of commodities continue rising unabated. The business community attributes the price hikes to the scarcity of foreign currency which is needed for importation of goods. Meanwhile, the government and the ruling ZANU PF have been sending threats to businesses. They argue that the business sector is deliberately raising prices to effect regime change.

Things started falling apart after the government introduced austerity measures which among other things introduced the infamous 2% tax.


More: NewsDay

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