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The spike in prices of fresh produce is declining at the level of wholesalers, according to a new report by the Competition Commission.

Retailers, however, seem to still charge lockdown prices – are they trying to make up for lost revenue?

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Also, there are unexpectedly large differences in the price of fresh fruit depending on where in South Africa consumers buy them.

Logistical costs don’t explain the discrepancies, according to the Commission.

For example, apples are grown in Elgin and Grabouw near Cape Town, yet they’re cheaper to buy in Port Elizabeth.

Lester Kiewit interviewed James Hodge, Chief Economist at the Competition Commission.

Agriculture functioned well [during the lockdown] … Imported products – it was the rand that drove price increases…

James Hodge, Chief Economist - Competition Commission

Retailers were very quick to put up prices but slow to bring them down. There’s a history of this…

James Hodge, Chief Economist - Competition Commission

We don’t fully understand why this is happening [different prices in various geographies] … Generally, the Eastern Cape – the poorest province - pays the highest price for most commodities…

James Hodge, Chief Economist - Competition Commission

The price of apples is double in Mthatha than in Port Elizabeth…

James Hodge, Chief Economist - Competition Commission

Listen to the interview in the audio below.

This article first appeared on CapeTalk : 'Wholesale food prices are coming down. Retailers still charge lockdown prices'

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