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Prices up 100 per cent in three months

13/01/2018 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter
 
Leading politburo committee on prices ... Vice president Constantino Chiwenga
 
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PRICES for most basic commodities in Zimbabwe have gone up by up to 100% in the last three months amid concerns that the situation could worsen as the country is receiving below normal rains, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) has said.

In its monthly report for January, FEWS NET, also exposed the State-run Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT) of understating the country’s annual inflation figures.

“Prices of most basic food commodities (including maize meal, cooking oil and sugar) and other goods and services continue to increase,” FEWS NET says in its January report.

“Prices have gone up by up to 100 percent for some products in the last three months. Some independent analysts continue to argue that the official (ZIMSTAT) inflation rates (e.g. 2.97 percent annual inflation in November) are understating reality on the ground,” it noted.

FEWS NET added the situation was set to worsen due to cash shortages and below normal rainfall that the country has received since the start of the 2017-18 rainfall season last October.

Mashonaland West is the worst affected province in the country, having received significantly below normal rains, the organisation said. 

“The government has indicated that prevailing cash shortages will continue for some time as they require medium and long-term measures to address them.

“Because of low rainfall, planted area is atypically low in some areas, especially in the north. Crop germination and establishment in some areas has been and will continue to be affected.

“Moisture stress is being experienced for crops at the early vegetative stages in some areas. There is generally low agricultural activity in most areas.  Markets across parts of the country are also experiencing fertilizer shortages,” said FEWS NET.

The rise in prices of basic commodities has forced the Zanu PF government to set up a committee headed by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga to investigate the increases.

The price increases have been blamed on the prevailing cash shortages and the government says the crisis will continue for some time as it requires medium to long-term measures to address them. 

Most business traders have resorted to the use of a three-tier pricing system which involves payments in US dollars, bond notes or the use of the electronic system. 



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FEWS NET is a US-based organisation that provides early warning and analysis of food insecurity across the globe.


 
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