It's good news all around for consumers: the Competition Commission has announced a probe into alleged price fixing by fresh produce market agents, while data released on Wednesday show that food is getting cheaper.
The Competition Commission's investigation involves the 50-year-old practice of charging fixed commissions to farmers' amounts, which the Commission says is price-fixing, Fin24 reported on Thursday. The complaint was laid by the department of agriculture, forestry and fisheries.
The commission has reportedly referred 14 fresh produce agents to the Competition Tribunal.
These agents reportedly serve as fresh produce intermediaries between farmers and buyers.
The commission reportedly found that agents in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban were fixing prices, which also squeezed out previously disadvantaged agents that could not compete effectively, Fin24 reported.
Meanwhile, the cost of food has fallen since the beginning of the year, The Times reported on Thursday. Data released by Stats SA reportedly revealed that the price of vegetables had dropped by 3.9%, oils and fats by 3.9%, bread and cereals by 4% and fruit by 8.4%.
Stats SA reportedly said the price decreases were owing to crops recovering from the recent drought.
Economist Dawie Roodt told The Times that, as a result of the drop in prices, thanks to the drought, maize is a lot cheaper, which has a knock-on effect on other foods such as meat.