South Africa: Potato prices to spike

Over the next four weeks, potato prices in South Africa are expected to increase and there is a chance of even more hikes in December. But despite the spike in prices, low-family households are still expected to continue buying the popular vegetables, as they are essential to thickening up stews, Mervyn Abrahams, the director of the Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action (Pacsa), said on Wednesday 19 Oct.

He was commenting on a report by Absa Agri-business which has warned about the possible potato price increase (going to levels of between R5-R6kg), because of the supply being insufficient to meet the demand.

“Early season rains are still pending and dam levels are low. Consequently, the lack of sufficient water for irrigation may impact negatively on yields,” said Absa’s agricultural economist, Kababo Takadi.

Potato plantings in the eastern Free State needed rain, while some producers in the Highveld were planting less because of the uncertainty of rain.

Abrahams said potatoes were one of the top 10 items in consumers’ shopping trolleys that Pacsa tracked, and potatoes had sky-rocketed over the past year.

He felt that despite the increases, people would still continue to buy potatoes - but cut down on other vegetables to save money.


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