Concern over rising food prices

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

Inkatha Freedom Party chairman Lionel Mtshali says rising food prices have overtaken service delivery to the poor and is a major concern to the public.

In his weekly newsletter to the people of KwaZulu-Natal, Mtshali said any attempt to regulate or curb food prices will lead to further problems.

He said "interventionist" policy responses by the government, especially such as regulating food prices or banning export restrictions, would only result in restricting the medium-term food supply.

"The recent suggestion by Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang that a statutory cap on food prices should be considered to counter the spiraling inflation is as scary as it is silly," said Mtshali.

"We only need to remember that it was the government-enforced regulation of food prices that triggered hyper-inflation in Zimbabwe which now exceeds 100000 percent," he added.

He said regulating food prices opened the door to empty shelves in supermarkets and to a thriving black market which charges competitive prices.

"The answer to long-term food security lies in a correctly-balanced land reform and in addressing the declining investment in agriculture."