South Africans could be hit with another price increase in the next few weeks.
An agricultural economist, Thabile Nkunjana, has stated that the price of potatoes could soon increase.
But even with prices stabilising, the cost will likely be too high for many struggling households. SA recently introduced higher duties for imported frozen potatoes from Europe in a bid to protect the local industry, a move that could push up the price of French fries while many households struggle to afford basics as the cost-of-living crisis deepens.
The government is under pressure to slash import duties on many products as consumers come under pressure. This week, trade, industry & competition minister Ebrahim Patel suspended antidumping duties on chicken imported from five countries for the next 12 months, citing the fight against food inflation and its effects on the poor.
The International Trade Administration Commission (Itac) — the organisation responsible for customs tariff investigations, trade remedies and import and export control — recently imposed provisional antidumping duties for frozen potato chips imported or originating from Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands.
The provisional duties — which are up to 181% for German producers, 104% for some producers in the Netherlands and 23% for those in Belgium — will be in place until January 2023 when the final five-year tariff determination will be finalised. This as the state moves to curb dumping.
Nkunjana noted that SA’s imports of frozen potato chips from the three countries increased by 88.6% between 2020 and 2021 to reach 29,635
tonnes. Moreover, in the first five months of 2022, the imports from the three countries grew by 114% compared to the corresponding period in 2021.
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