September food basket stood at over K9, 000-JCTR

• This is compared to K8, 850.38 recorded in September, 2022.
• The average price of charcoal reduced from K455 per 90kg bag to K370 per90kg bag.
• Actual cost of living for a family of five in Lusaka may exceed by far the K9000 threshold.

Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) says the cost of living for a family of five in Lusaka, as measured by the Basic Needs and Nutrition Basket stood at K9, 146.06 in September 2023.
Centre Social & Economic Development Programme Manager, Muchimba Siamachoka, says this is compared to K8, 850.38 recorded in September, 2022.
Ms. Siamachoka states that the average price of charcoal reduced from K455 per 90kg bag to K370 per90kg bag, while there was an increase in the prices of food items such as roller mealie meal from K180.83 per 25kg bag to K217.14 and vegetables from K413.88 per 40 kg to K453.37.
“Once more, the September basket underscores the impact of seasonal shifts, particularly as we transition into the hot season, on the contents of both the food and non-food components within the basket. Comparing the charcoal price data from the past two years during the same time frame provides valuable insights.”
“In 2022, there was a decrease in the price of a 90kg bag of charcoal, which went from K428/90kg in August to K406.67/90kg by the end of September. Similarly, in 2021, the price of a 90kg bag of charcoal decreased from K369.20/90kg in August to K360/90kg by the close of September. Another key item to highlight is that of green leafy vegetables such as rape, amaranthus leaves also known locally as “bondwe” and pumpkin leaves which recorded an increase of approximately K38.49,” Ms. Siamachoka stated.
She however noted that while the month on month overall basket under review observed a temporary reduction, it is far from sufficient to address the high cost of living.
Ms. Siamachoka further said the food basket excludes additional daily expenses such as airtime, data bundles, transportation costs, and clothing, hence the actual cost of living for a family of five in Lusaka may exceed by far the K9000 threshold.
“Being that the cost of living, largely driven by the price of commodities, remains prohibitively high for the majority of Zambians. This persistent challenge continues to burden the Zambian citizens, particularly the vulnerable and marginalized segments of our population as evidenced by the 2022 Living Conditions Monitoring Survey. “
“We call upon the government, civil society, and the private sector to have open and honest conversations, collaborate and develop sustainable strategies that address the root causes of high living costs,” she added.

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