THE cost of living for an urban family of six increased by 0,8% to $567,03 last month pushed up mainly by the rising cost of food, latest figures from the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) have shown.
The September figures, despite a slight increase from the $562,52 the previous month, showed that a majority of Zimbabweans could barely sustain themselves due to high unemployment levels.
Most civil servants and workers in the private sector earn less than $567 a month.
In the period under review, the food basket gained $4,11 to $154,58 by end of September, while detergents increased by 3,07% from $13,05 to $13,45.
The increase in the food basket cost was pushed up by white sugar which gained 21 cents to $2,20, roller meal which increased by 2c to $12, meat (beef) which rose by 53c to $4,38 per kilogramme and fresh milk which gained a cent up to 74 cents per 500ml.
“The last three months, beef has remained very expensive ranging between $4,30 and $4,50,” CCZ said in its report.
“Consumers’ choice has been chicken and fish, which are cheaper.”
Decreases in prices were recorded in margarine, which went down by 5c to $2,25, cabbage dropped by 9c to $0,40 a head, rice fell by 6c to $2,04 per 2kg, flour shed 5c $1,84 per 2kg and onions lost 10c to 85c a bundle.
CCZ said decreases in cabbage and onions were attributed to the seasonal increase in supply on the market.
The prices of the other basic commodities which include fuel, cooking oil, tea leaves, bread, salt, tomatoes, bath soap and washing powder remained unchanged from August 2013 figures.
CCZ urged consumers to shop conscientiously and to buy certified products.
Where the products were not certified, consumers were urged to exercise their right to information by carefully examining if the products they were purchasing were well-labelled, packaged and provided with vital information such as manufacturing and expiry dates and ingredients used in the making of the products.
The consumer lobby group conducts a survey twice during the first and the last weeks of every month and total cost of the food basket.
The price of each commodity was arrived at by averaging prices gathered from retail outlets throughout the country.