JCTR predicts rise in cost of living

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The Jesuit Center for Theological Reflections (JCTR) has predicted a rise in the price of mealie meal and overall cost of living following the latest crop forecast survey released by the Ministry of Agriculture which indicates that the country is expected to record a decline in maize production in the 2017-18 farming season.

And the May 2018 JCTR basic needs basket (BNB) for a family of five in Lusaka has shown a reduction in the cost of living by K64 from April 2018.

In a statement today, the JCTR warns that the reduction in the total maize production and yields for the 2017-2018 season will adversely affect the price of the staple food and consequently increase the cost of living.

“According to the latest crop forecast survey released by the Ministry of Agriculture, Zambia is expected to record about 2,394,907 metric tonnes of maize in the 2017-2018 agricultural season, representing 33.9% decline from last year’s record bumper harvest of 3,606,549 tonnes. This means that Zambia has failed to produce over three million metric tonnes of maize for the first time in three years, making this year’s harvest the lowest since the 2014-2015 season when the country produced 2,618,221 tonnes of maize. The reduction in the total maize production and yields for the 2017-2018 season,” reads the JCTR statement.

The JCTR has since urged government  to begin to prepare now on how it is going to address the rise in the cost of mealie meal.

“In the light of the latest crop forecast survey projecting the reduction of maize production in the 20172018 agricultural season, we forecast a rise in the cost of Mealie meal which will inevitably affect the costs of other essential commodities and services. The JCTR urges government to begin to prepare now on how it is going to address this rise in the cost of mealie meal. As the adage says, to be forewarned is to be forearmed. The crop forecast survey by the Ministry of Agriculture should serve its purpose of helping the nation manage the maize output reduction. We expect the government and its agencies to demonstrate leadership in this preparedness to avert unnecessary suffering during the lean months.”

Meanwhile, the JCTR says the reduction in the basic needs basket for the moth of May was influenced by increased supply of commodities on the market.

“The May 2018 JCTR Basic Needs Basket (BNB) for a family of five living in Lusaka stood at K5,369 which was K64 less than the April BNB which stood at K5,433. The most significant reduction was noted in Kapenta which decreased by K13 from K182 in April to K169 in May per kg. Vegetables reduced by K8 from K16 in April to K8 in May per kg. Tomatoes decreased by K7 from K17 in April to K10 in May per kg. The reduction in the prices of the commodities was influenced by increased supply on the market.”

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