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Zim consumers pay more for basics: World Bank

MARTHA MAMOMBE

The World Bank has said Zimbabwe has the highest food inflation in the world that stands at 321% year-on year in what has seen consumers paying more for basic commodities.

Zimbabwe is faced with a myriad of challenges that include inflation, cash shortages, power cuts, foreign currency exchange rate disparities, and the increasing cost of doing business with all this ultimately impacting on prices of basics.

Other countries with the most expensive food basket in the world include Lebanon at 203%, Venezuela at 158%, Turkey, Argentina, Iran, Sri Lanka, Rwanda, Suriname and Hungary.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers president Denford Mutashu said it was not a safe space to have Zimbabwe in the top 10 of the highest food price inflation in the world.

“It is not a good sign that Zimbabwe sits at the top of the 10 countries with the highest food price inflation. It is indicative of the nature of the challenges that the economy suffered between January and August 2022 where the country was affected by the parallel market exchange rate which was rampaging, and the depreciation of the Zimbabwe dollar as well as imported inflation,” Mutashu said.

“Despite the negative picture, the country is on the right trajectory if we continue to improve the environment under which businesses are operating. So the ease and cost of doing business need to be looked at from a policy level.”

Zimbabwe imports the bulk of its raw materials.

Oil Expressers Association of Zimbabwe president Busisa Moyo said the Food Poverty Line in November 2022 stood at US$33 (on the official market rate) “ZWL$ 21 652 for one person or US$200 for a family of six.

A snap survey by Business Times showed that an average grocery basket of the basic food items may be beyond the reach of many.

According to the World Food Programme more than half of Zimbabwe’s 16m population live below the poverty datum line, 27% of children have stunted growth and nearly a third of Zimbabweans are facing malnutrition due to food insecurity.

“Widespread poverty, HIV/AIDS, limited employment opportunities, liquidity challenges, recurrent climate-induced shocks and economic instability all contribute to limiting adequate access to food,” a WFP Zimbabwe country profile reads in part.

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