• Total food cost increased by a large margin moving from K3, 421.79 to K3, 768.35.
• The price of two 90Kg bag of charcoal moved from K791.48 to K813.33.
• Two 25Kg bags of roller mealie meal however reduced by K14.6.
Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) has disclosed that the Basic Needs and Nutrition Basket for Lusaka for February 2022 increased by K256.13 ngwee to K9, 305.38 ngwee from the January basket which stood at K9, 049.25 ngwee.
JCTR Social and Economic Development Programmes Manager Chama Mundia attributed the upward movement in the basket to increase in prices of some selected items such as 4 kilograms of onions which moved from K62.73 to K118.20 ngwee, 1kg of kapenta from K244.34 to K271.52 ngwee, with 4kg rice moving from K79.43 ngwee to K89.56 ngwee.
Mrs. Mundia noted that the non-food but essential item section also recorded increases as the price of two 90Kg bag of charcoal moved from K791.48 to K813.33, but that price decreases were recorded in some items such as two 25Kg bags of roller mealie meal which reduced by K14.64 from K220.28 to K205.64, while 3.6 liters of cooking oil also reduced by K7 from K166.63 ngwee to K159.63 ngwee.
“Total food cost increased by a large margin moving from K3, 421.79 to K3, 768.35, a K346.56 increase. Particularly, 4kg of onions moved from K62.73 (K15.68/per Kg) to K118.20 (29.55/per Kg), a K55.47 increase, 1kg of kapenta moved from K244.34 to K271.52, a K27.18 increase, 4kg rice moved from K79.43 to K89.56, a K10.13 increase.”
“Additionally, the nonfood but essential item section also recorded increases as the price of two 90Kg bag of charcoal which moved from K791.48 to K813.33, a K21.85 increase. Price decreases were however recorded in some items. Two 25Kg bags of mealie meal (Roller) reduced by K14.64 from K220.28 to K205.64, 3.6 liters of cooking oil also reduced by K7.00 from K166.63 to K159.63,” she disclosed.
And Mrs. Mundia said last month’s food basket shows sustained upward price movements in the prices of essential items likely on account of a number of factors.
She noted that the instability in fuel pump prices has continued to have an impact on the cost of living as prices for both petrol and diesel were recently adjusted upwards by over K2.
“Firstly, the first quarter of the year is a lean season and food prices tend to go up. Secondly, the instability in fuel pump prices has continued to have an impact on the cost of living. Pump prices for both petrol and diesel were recently adjusted upwards by over K2.”
“Furthermore, on 22nd February, 2022 the Ministry of Agriculture announced the importation ban on onions and potatoes on the premise of supporting local production and local farmers. Evidently, this has yet again affected the price of onions on the market as local supply appears to be at variance with the demand of the commodity,” she noted.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Mundia said the rising cost of living poses negative consequences on the welfare of women and children, hence the need for the nation to reflect, safeguard and enhance the lives of women because gender equality is undeniably critical for social equity.
She said women account for about 51% of the Zambian population and represent over 50% of the nation’s poor and that women’s socio economic status remains vulnerable, while a number of indicators remain way below desired targets.
“In as much as the nation desires economic growth, the plight of women and children must not be undermined. Maternal mortality in 2017-2019 stood at a high of 252 deaths per 100, 000 live births, an increase from 111 deaths in 2015-16, women also bear the larger burden of gender-based violence and notable inequalities on the political participation landscape.”
“Following the general election of 2021, the imbalance gaps have widened with a proportion of female representation reducing to 14percent, from 19 percent female representation recorded in the 2016 general elections.”
She urged government to prioritise and speed up the transformation of the agriculture sector from a net importer to a regional supplier of various commodities because majority of women depend the Agriculture sector.
Mrs. Mundia also called on Government to re-establish the Ministry of Gender or ensure a ministerial representation of gender at cabinet level to address the plight of women and young girls in order to attain sustainable development.
“ERB to revert to 90 day pump price review cycles as opposed to 30 day review cycles to aid in in stabilizing the pump price of fuel. Government through the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to actualize earmarked support to women empowerment through the Constituency Development Fund.”
“Government through the Teaching Service Commission to ensure gender responsiveness in the planned teacher and health professionals recruitment.”