Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Escalating food prices push up inflation to five per cent

Trader wait for customers at the Majengo market

Trader wait for customers at the Majengo market in Dodoma. PHOTO | FILE 

By Alex Malanga @ChiefMalanga amalanga@tz.nationmedia.com

        Dar es Salaam. Annual headline inflation rose to 5 per cent in December 2016, up from 4.8 per cent the previous month.

Yesterday’s National Bureau of Statistics statement attributed the trend to price increases in food and non-alcoholic beverages, which hit 7 per cent last month from 6.2.

“Price increases for some foodstuffs and non-alcoholic beverages last month raised the monthly headline inflation rate by 0.7 per cent compared with an increase of 1.1 per cent the previous month,” reads a part of the statement.

The statement shows prices of foodstuffs with their increases in brackets as maize (12.6), sorghum (8.9), cassava flour (3.5), lentils (12.5), green bananas (4.7) and dry beans (3.3). The annual inflation rate for food consumed at home and away from home increased to 7.4 per cent last month from 6.4 per cent the previous month.

Increase in speed of the price increase, culminated to the overall index mounting to 105.04 during the period under review, up from104.32 the previous month.

However, the annual inflation rate which excludes food and energy during the period slightly decreased to 2.5 per cent from 2.6 per cent during the same period.

The 12-month index change for non-food products stagnated at 3.8 per cent.

The purchasing power of Sh100 reached Sh95.20 in December 2016 from Sh95.98 the previous month.

Meanwhile, as drought is stalking Tanzania, Agricultural Non-State Actor Forum executive director Audax Rukonge advised the government to evaluate the situation to have an accurate picture of the food situation and take the necessary measures.

In Dar es Salaam, a kilogramme of maize flour was retailing at between Sh1,400 and Sh1,700 this week, up from Sh1,200 a month ago.

The Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA) has repeatedly warned about poor rainfall. It forecast that half of major cereal-producing regions would received rain below average.

A TMA report for December 2016 named Dar es Salaam, Tanga, Coast, Morogoro, Kilimanjaro, Arusha, Manyara, Kigoma, Katavi, Tabora, Dodoma and Singida as regions that would receive rains below average, with the Lake Victoria regions of Kagera, Geita, Shinyanga, Mwanza, Mara and Simiyu being among those that will receive average rainfall.

Last month’s report by Famine Early Warning Systems Network warned about poor seasonal rain.