Tanzania: Rising Food Prices Push Up Inflation Rate By 0.2 Percentage Point to 3.8pc

Dodoma — Rising food prices pushed the headline inflation rate for November 2019 up by 0.2 percentage point, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced yesterday.

It reached 3.8 percent from 3.6 percent that was recorded during the previous month.

"The rate of price change for commodities for the year ended November 2019 has increased compared to that recorded for the year ended October 2019," the NBS acting director of population census and social statistics, Ms Ruth Minja, said here yesterday.

She said the increase was fuelled by rising prices both for food and non-food items. Some of the food items whose prices increased in November included rice (6.6 percent), cassava flour (7.8 percent), meat (2.6 percent), beans (8.6 percent), vegetables (6.0 percent) and cassava (5.8 percent).

The new data comes at a time when meat prices have increased sharply in Dar es Salaam, pushed up primarily by rising demand and low cattle supply, with analysts projecting that a kilogramme of beef will cross the Sh10,000 mark during the festive season.

Basically, Tanzania's commercial capital has two types of meat retailers.

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With wholesale meat prices rising by an average of 21 percent during the past one month, retailers are demanding between Sh8,000 and Sh9,000 for a kilogramme, up from between Sh6,000 and Sh7,000.

"Currently, a kilo of beef at the Vingunguti abattoir fetches between Sh6,300 and Sh6,500. Two months ago, the same fetched between Sh5,000 and Sh5,500. What you see in retail outlets is a reflection of what is happening here," the chairman of a co-operative union for traders in livestock and livestock products at Vingunguti, Mr Joel Meshaki, told The Citizen in an interview.

However, NBS figures are collected from across the country, and the sharp rise in meat prices in Dar es Salaam may have been offset by lower increases in other regions. Food accounts for the lion's share of the basket of products upon which Tanzania's inflation is measured. Transport (12.5 percent) and a combination of housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuel are in third position with a weight of 11.6 percent.

According to Ms Minja, non-food products whose prices rose include clothing (2.7 percent) charcoal (4.4 percent), furniture (3.1 percent), accommodation services (5.0 percent) and carpets (6.3 percent).

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