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Can South Africans afford the high price of chicken?

The economy and culture of South Africa are both fundamentally dependent on chicken. A Google search that starts with "nearest..." frequently suggests options like "KFC," "Nandos," or "Chicken Licken" automatically.

Not only are there approximately 1,000 KFC shops there, but South Africans also fry the entire bird, including the "walkie talkies" and "runaways" (heads and feet) of the bird. In the 60,1 million-person nation, chicken is the most common protein source.

According to the South African Poultry Association, the average annual consumption of chicken in South Africa in 2020 was close to 39 kg, more than twice the average annual consumption of beef, which was 16 kg, and more than four times the average annual consumption of eggs, which was 9 kg.

According to data by the banking organization Absa's Agri Trends, Livestock Report, the cost of a whole frozen chicken has grown 20% over the past year to roughly R33,65.

The research also predicts that poultry prices would rise further.

According to the research, it is anticipated that chicken prices will continue their upward trajectory over the next weeks, supported by a lower exchange rate, persistent high input costs, and robust consumer demand for cost-effective forms of meat protein."

More people won't be able to afford a significant source of protein if the price of a staple meal like chicken goes up by 20% in a nation where more than half of adults live below the poverty line and 27% of children have stunted growth, according to UNICEF. Consumers, poultry producers, and small-scale fast food restaurants are all under stress as a result of rising pricing.

Residents of South Africa are experiencing economic difficulty from a variety of aspects, including higher petrol, power costs, and rising mortgage rates.

South Africa already faces sharp inequality in who can access goods and services, and the Covid-19 pandemic deepened the divide. And it led to a sharp jump in unemployment, from 27,6% in the first quarter of 2019 to 34,5% in the first quarter of 2022.

Even before the entrance of Covid-19, the South African economy was experiencing difficulties. The economy went into a recession in the second part of 2019, and the pandemic drove it to drop much more, with GDP falling by 5% by the end of 2020.

The economy recovered steadily throughout 2021, reaching its pre-pandemic levels in the first quarter of 2022. However, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine has put tremendous strain on an already scarce food supply.

Despite growing food prices, experts claim that for the nation's poor, other spending priorities take precedence over the grocery bill.

Transport expenses, power, and loan repayment are prioritised by people. Then people start purchasing food.

The rising prices also have an impact on people's health because as food prices rise people afford less of the basic foods with nutrients. A drop in petrol prices will do good for the consumers as that will prompt food prices to all drop.

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