16th July 2024
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South Sudan tops world list of countries hit by food inflation: Report

Authors: Lasuba Memo | Michael Daniel | Published: Friday, June 14, 2024

World Bank report. (-)

South Sudan has topped the list of countries worst hit by food inflation making it the only with the most expensive food prices globally, according to a World Bank report.

The Food Security Update for this year indicates that food prices in South Sudan stands at an inflation rate of 164 per cent.

Zimbabwe is the second most hit country at 48 per cent followed by Liberia at (16%), Viet Nam (11%), and Haiti is fifth (at 11%).

Meanwhile, Egypt and Malawi’s food inflation rates are at 8 percent with Nigeria, Maldives and Paraguay at 7, 6, 5 percent respectively.

Robert Pitia, Chairperson of Central Equatoria State Chamber of Commerce said he agrees with the World Bank assessment.

Pitiya stated that food prices in the city in particular are now around six-folds higher compared to the year.

He said a 50kg of flour that used to sell at 15,000 to 20,000 pounds last year, now costs between 80,000 to 90,000 pounds.

The official further said a 50kg of sugar that initially sold at 30,000 SSP now sells at 130,000 SSP.

“These price hikes are affecting all commodities and are largely driven by the rising exchange rate of the dollar,” he said.

“The official emphasized that the only viable solution to improve the deteriorating economic situation is to achieve and maintain peace.”

“By providing peace, the country can stabilize its economy, control inflation, and potentially reduce the prices of essential goods.”

Asked what contributed to the rapid hike in commodity prices, Pitiya attributed the situation to multiple factors including imported inflation, depreciating local currency, and multiple taxes.

“One of the external factors contributing to the increase in consumer goods prices in the country is the rise in the prices of consumer and petroleum products from production countries.”

“This escalation negatively impacts consumer prices and adds to transportation costs. Internally, the increase in prices is driven by the country’s tax policy, which imposes taxes at multiple levels: national, state, city council, and county.”

“Any tax increase at these levels directly affects prices negatively. Another significant internal factor is the hard currency exchange rate.”

The 2024 Global Food Policy Report, highlighted the importance of sustainable healthy diets and delivered evidence-based recommendations on ways to make the foods that form these diets more desirable, affordable, accessible, and available while considering environmental impacts.

According to the report, progress in reducing undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies has slowed in low- and middle-income countries, while overweight and obesity have rapidly increased worldwide.

Last week, two United Nations agencies have projected the highest level of food insecurity in 18 hotspots in the world, with South Sudan, Palestine, Sudan and Mali set to suffer famine from June to October 2024.

The early warning report released by World Food Program and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), highlights the urgent need for assistance to prevent famine and dire hunger crises in the four countries.

 

 

 

 

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