• The upward movement in the basket is attributed to increased prices of some selected items.
• Non-food but essential items section on the other hand moved to K5, 241.63 from K5, 240.04.
• Zambian households must embrace consumption of the more nutritious roller meal to keep the cost of living lower.
Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) has disclosed that Basic Needs and Nutrition Basket for a family of five in Lusaka for December 2021 increased by K214 to K8, 359 compared to the November basket that stood at K8, 145.
Center Programmes Manager Chama Mundia attributed the upward movement in the basket to increased prices of some selected items such as Chicken, Mealie-meal, Kapenta, and other fruits.
Mrs. Mundia noted that total food cost increased by a larger margin than non-food items moving from K2, 905 to K3, 118, representing an increase of K212.93.
“The non-food but essential items section on the other hand moved to K5, 241.63 from K5, 240.04, an increase of K1.59. 1kg of other fruits also moved from K109.75 to K159.94, an increase of K50.19. 25Kg bag of Mealie meal (roller) moved from K91.14 to K99.28, translating to K198.57 for 2 25kg bags, 40Kg of vegetables also increased by K138.71 from K423.79 to K562.59.”
“Additionally, increases were noted in the prices of 1Kg kapenta which went up by K53.79 from K233.87 to K287.66 and 5kg of chicken moved from K285.35 to K306.42, an increase of K21.07. Price decreases were however recorded in some items. 1Kg pounded groundnuts reduced by K14.35 from K48.65 to K34.30. 2 90Kg bags of charcoal also increased by K20.00 from K756.00 to K776.00,” Mrs. Mundia disclosed.
She attributed the increase in the price of a 25Kg bag of Roller Mealie-meal to the commencement of the farming season, while other items like Chicken, rice and meat increased as a result of high demand during the festive period.
“A critical analysis of the December basket shows an overall increase in the prices of essential items likely on account of a number of factors. The increase in the price of a 25Kg bag of mealie meal (roller) is attributed to the commencement of the farming season. Additionally, the month of December 2021 being a festive period historically registers price increases especially in items such as chicken, beef and rice due to increased demand. Further, the cost of other fruits increased as mangoes become scarcer,” she stated.
She added that the price of other fruits is expected to further increase in January 2022, impacted by the fuel prices.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Mundia advised Zambians to be ready for the high cost of living which is expected to significantly go up this month following the rise in fuel prices.
She explained that although the increase in the cost of fuel is justified in view of key variables such as the exchange rate and the price of crude oil per barrel on the international market, its impact on the cost of living is undeniable.
“The 2019 fuel price increment saw the cost of living increase from K6, 600.00 in December 2019 to K7, 410.00 in January 2020 in Lusaka. Increases were also noted in the other BNNB towns. Zambia as a developing country has over 50 percent of its population living in poverty with average incomes pegged at K4, 391 according to the 2020 Labour Force Survey. More so, average incomes for professionals are pegged at K8, 000.00 and above. Evidently, inequality gaps between the haves and have-nots remain and disadvantage the poor and marginalized sections of our society.”
And Mrs. Mundia urged Zambians to consider consuming roller Mealie meal which is much cheaper than breakfast Mealie meal.
“While the price of mealie meal (roller) has increased, it does still remain significantly cheaper than that of breakfast mealie meal. JCTR also hopes that with the commencement of the implementation of the 2022 national budget, interventions that impact on the cost of living will be actualized and sustained,” she added.