From Europe to America to the vast Asian continent, soaring food prices is one of the biggest concerns now facing both the population and their respective governments. In Africa therefore one can only expect it to be worse. It has caused strikes in Burkina Faso, and union workers in South Africa threaten to strike over it. In Haiti many deaths have been recorded.
The situation is worrying everywhere, and governments are readying themselves for differing degrees of unrest whose major cause is hiking food prices.
Rwanda is following the food price barometer closely, and that is why the Senate has summoned the Minister of Commerce, Monique Nsanzabaganwa, to explain the situation, and maybe talk about how to mitigate the concerns.
This is a difficult time, and the problem might be beyond what the minister might give in explanation. Everywhere in the world fuel prices are escalating, and this is the simple reason for escalating food prices. That is why in America, truckers want to strike against the relentless fuel rise, which is the major driver of the world economy.
The silver lining to this threatening dark cloud is that it has given some warning. Everyone should think out ways of securing food for the family amidst higher prices vis-à-vis worse purchasing power, for underlying inflation is also on the march – 10.3% by February, up from 9.1% in December 2007.
Wage earners are always hit hard when rising prices strip them of money that would have been used to purchase other items to be put aside for food, when their incomes are inelastic. But even the farmers themselves cannot be so sure; when demand goes down because of high prices it also means they will not get money to buy basic necessities in the home. It is a whole vicious circle of suffering, which needs to be addressed by living frugally.
Rwandan farmers should continue growing the food so that it is available, even as the buyers struggle to find money to feed their families.