Food prices in Serbia increased by 15% in a month – poverty on the rise

Prices for food and non-alcoholic beverages in Serbia have risen by 15.7% in just one month and poverty is on the rise, according to the latest official data from March.

The Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Serbia (SSSS) claims that the minimum wage is no longer enough to cover the minimum consumption basket, which was worth nearly 42,000 dinars in January. The union also believes that due to rising food prices and other costs, the minimum wage should be reviewed twice a year.

Prices for vegetables increased the most, by 30.6%, coffee and tea by 23%, fats and cooking oil by 20.8% and meat by 17.3%. Rising prices, of course, have also affected the market basket and the amount of food needed to sustain a family.

According to the calculations of the Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunications, in March last year the minimum food expenditure for a family of three was 16,860 dinars, while in January this year it was 19,198 dinars.

According to the SSSS, an average family of three needs at least 50,000 dinars per month for food.

“The minimum wage is not enough to cover the minimum consumption basket and this year’s increase of around 9% in the minimum wage has been canceled out by rising food prices. A minimum basket includes the bare minimum of foodstuffs. The basket assumes that a family of three consumes 200 grams of lemon per month, or two grams per person per day. It is also difficult to see how 500 grams of cod per month is enough for a family. We think it would be logical to return to the previous practice where the minimum wage was determined twice a year and was valid for 6 months, or the minimum wage is determined at the end of the year, when all the relevant data comes out said SSSS Vice President Dusko Vukovic.

Vukovic believes that social actors, the Serbian government, trade unions and employers should work together to find a way to offset rising food prices and other costs.

The minimum consumption basket includes basic foodstuffs such as bread and pastries, fruit and vegetables, fresh and processed meat and meat products, fish, milk and dairy products, eggs, sugar, table salt, coffee, fruit juices, vinegar…

(Moj Novi Sad, 17.04.2022)

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Edward N. Arrington