Good summer rains bring food price relief

Robert Laing

Robert Laing

Stock up on cheaper vegetables and fruit while you can before skyrocketing fertiliser and pesticide prices push prices up.

Farmers passed on the savings from good summer rains in April, according producer price index (PPI) data released by Statistics SA yesterday.

Agricultural food prices contracted by 11,3percent month-on-month, bringing April's year-on-year figure to six percent.

But while food price increases at the farm gate dropped to a third of March's figure, manufacturers either have not processed the cheaper crops or are not passing these lower prices on to the grocers.

Food inflation at the manufacturing level increased 1,2percent from March, taking it to 19,5percent for the year.

The higher factory gate food prices along with soaring mineral and oil prices pushed April's overall PPI up to 12,4percent from March's 11,9percent.

The past season's bumper crop saw average vegetable prices drop 5,3percent from last year's high prices caused by a drought. Vegetables tied with fruit and nuts for the biggest month-on-month drop.

Carmen Altenkirch, an economist at Nedbank, said: "Thursday's much stronger PPI figure combined with Wednesday's double-digit inflation number makes another rate hike in June a certainty."