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Food Basket remain at about K5,000 per family – JCTR

The Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) | Source: http://zambiabusinesstimes.com

The May 2017 Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) Basic Needs Basket (BNB) for an averaged Zambian family of five (5) living in Lusaka has remained fairly flat and stood at K4, 952.69 which is K20.34 less than the April Basic Needs Basket which was at 4,973.03 kwacha.

This is in line with the CENTRAL STATISTICS OFFICE (CSO) annual inflation rate which reduced from 6.7% in April to 6.5% in May, 2017. The decrease in the BNB has been attributed to reduced costs in some food items which include; Kapenta which reduced from K208.17 per kilograms to K196.5 per kilograms, Beans also reduced from K30 per kg to K28.5 per kilograms. The supply of Kapenta has improved in the markets which have led to reduced prices. The prices of beans have also decreased due to the abundance of fresh beans on the market.

The BNB shows an increase in the prices of some food items such as Fish which increased from K96.35 per kilograms to K130.55 per kilograms, Cooking oil increased from K45.98 per 2.5 Litres to K48.71, tomato increased from K5.33 per kilograms to K7.33. Non-food items like charcoal reduced from K143.33 to K135 per 90 kilograms bag. The increasing demand for fish and additional fishing pressure has resulted in increasing prices.

Meanwhile the Catholic Organization is concerned that the Basic needs basket still remains high for most families and the high cost of commodities continues to deprive families of the required basic needs and nutritious meals which is essential to national development. According to the Central Statistics demographics of 2015 Zambia have an estimated population of about 15,473,905 million people and a Gross Domestic Product of US$21.15 billion.

In the meantime, The JCTR has urged the government to develop transparent and efficient ways of identifying beneficiaries and distributing Social Cash Transfer. This is according to a statement issued to ZBT by JCTR Social and Economic Development- Programme Officer, Chanda Chileshe. The Social Cash Transfer aims to reduce extreme poverty, increase the number of children attending primary school education and reduce the rate of mortality and morbidity among children under-five years old.

Further, it aims to increase the number of households having a second meal per day and increase the number of households owning assets such as livestock. The JCTR has noted in the past that distribution of SCT has proved to be a challenge, when it comes to identifying and reaching vulnerable households. The budget allocation to the Social Cash Transfer (SCT) programme increased by 83 percent, from K302 million in 2016 to K552 million in 2017.

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