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‘Food poverty stable as inflation eases’



ZIMBABWE’S food poverty line stagnated in February at ZW$22 386.42 from the January figure as annual inflation maintained a downward trajectory against the backdrop of increased use of a more stable currency.


The country’s economy which, according to the World Bank has one of the highest food inflation rates in the world, effectively re-dollarised to ease inflationary pressures which threatened the collapse of the domestic currency.

According to latest Zimbabwe National Statistical Agency (ZimStat) inflation figures for February, the average amount required by an individual to meet the monthly basic remained the same as inflation trended downwards.

“The food poverty line (FPL) as at February 2023 was $22 386.43. This means that the minimum needs basket cost that much per person in February 2023. This represents an increase of 0.0 percent over the January 2023 figure of $22,384.78, ZimStat says.

“The Total Consumption Poverty Line (TCPL) for Zimbabwe stood at $29 562.94 per person in February 2023. This means that an individual required that much to purchase both non-food and food items as at February 2023 in order not to be deemed poor. This represents an increase of 0.2 percent when compared to the January 2023 figure of $29 499.89.”

The TCPL of $29 563 represents the total income needed for an individual (with all their income added together) as a minimum for them not to be deemed poor.

With effect from November 2020, ZimStat began producing the Poverty Datum Lines (PDL) using the lower bound poverty line. The method refers to the sum of food poverty line and the average amount derived from non-food items of households whose total expenditure is equal to the food poverty line.

 The food poverty line (FPL) represents the amount of money that an individual will require to afford the minimum required daily energy intake of 2 100 calories.

The total consumption poverty line (TCPL), which is naturally higher than the FPL, was derived using 2017 PICES data and using the lower bound poverty line method. It was derived by computing the non-food consumption expenditures of poor households whose consumption expenditures were just equal to the FPL.

The amount was added to the FPL, if an individual does not consume more than the TCPL, he or she is deemed poor. For more details, the user is referred to a more recent publication by ZimStat Zimbabwe Poverty Update 2017-19.

The month-on-month inflation rate in February 2023 was -1.6%, shedding 2.3 percentage points on the January 2023 rate of 0.7%.

This means that prices as measured by the all-items weighted CPI increased by an average of -1.6 percent from January 2023 to February 2023. The month-on-month inflation rate is given by the percentage change in the index of the relevant month of the current year compared with the index of the previous month in the current year.

The weighted CPI was 273.65 in February 2023, 278.12 in January 2023 and 142.28 in February 2022.

The year-on-year inflation rate (annual percentage change) for the month of February 2023 as measured by the all-items weighted Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 92.3%.

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