Food inflation tsunami | Sunday Observer


This country has one of the highest food inflation rates in the world according to reliable statistics. At present, it seems that this statistic is not being felt in the bones of the wealthy, let alone policy makers.

Basic food costs are now almost three times what they were saying in March of this year, to take a convenient date. Wages obviously haven’t kept up, and in the economic circumstances, there’s no point talking about it for a while.

The impact on families is such that those living paycheck to paycheck have to skimp on other essentials if they are to make ends meet. But what other essentials should they skimp on? There is hardly any room left for ordinary people to save money.

They can’t save on fuel because the costs at the pump have skyrocketed. Obviously they can’t skimp on textbooks etc because there are no concessions there — it’s not like kids are allowed to go to school without the books , necessary equipment and stationery, etc.

The situation must be unbearable for most people who have families. They are not the type to go to the so-called soup kitchens which are run by wealthy but well-meaning people. However, there is no turnaround in sight for the less well-off demographic, and society is at a stage where people have accepted that they are lucky to have escaped the recent crisis with their lives intact. , therefore, to say.


So they don’t make a lot of noise, nor does anyone make a lot of noise on their behalf. But what is disturbing is that there is not much empathy for the employee, especially when it comes to the price of food and kitchen products.

There is some form of aid in the form of emergency grants and so on that is coming into the country because there is an emergency in Sri Lanka with regard to people’s purchasing power , in terms of basic daily needs.

But this food aid does not help matters for the vast majority of the middle classes and the poor. They are not aid recipients and they never will be. They are ordinary housewives and they are always left to their own devices – which would normally have been fine, but this is not the case when food inflation is at the level the country is experiencing today.

It is said that most people skimp on meals in the vast Sri Lankan middle class community and those below this demographic, but even if they do, it is heartbreaking to imagine the plight of schoolchildren by example. It’s easy to say that adults have chosen to be hungry by giving up at least one meal a day. But it’s hard to imagine that for young children.

Right now, the attitude of most managers – and not managers but relatively affluent – ​​is that there is no alternative but to wait for things to sort themselves out. But in the case of relatively poor people at least, this is not a good solution because malnutrition and so on could have its impact, especially in the longer term.


What is also sad is the fact that food inflation affects those who are healthy and willing and able to do work and contribute to the economy. They are not sick, and of course it is another matter that the sick suffer particularly badly for a whole other series of reasons.

But yet, food inflation is hitting and hurting the most dynamic sectors of society among the poor and middle classes, and it is a pity that its impact is still not a topic of discussion among the wealthiest sectors of society. in general .

But it’s hard to be fatalistic about something so fundamental. To a large extent, it is understandable that among a wide cross-section of the population there is a sense of relief that there is at least some respite from the queues for petrol and the like. just in time.

It’s human to rationalize and settle for it that way, but it does nothing to alleviate the conditions of people who have to watch their children go hungry. Smile and support, that was never a solution.

In hotels and restaurants, owners are also struggling. They are incapable of doing much against food inflation. Prices must go up, there is no choice in the matter, and it is axiomatic. When people can’t make ends meet, they usually resort to two or three jobs and part-time gigs, but the economic conditions are not at all conducive to this, with the private sector being forced to cut his expenses.

A culture of helping doesn’t help, but at least some basic consideration for the nutritional needs of the struggling masses is in order. This applies for example to the price of eggs. This writer has seen customers in roadside shops asking to buy an egg or two.

Eggs used to be the only affordable source of protein for the poorest, but there’s not good news on that front either, as various reasons contributed to the downfall of the egg industry.

At least some of the key sectors – eggs and dairy products for example – could benefit from special attention from the authorities. But that doesn’t seem to be happening, and to be as optimistic as possible, that’s probably partly because the situation is also overwhelming for policymakers.

But nutritional problems are not trivial. If people who cannot afford it skimp too much on food, the result would be that healthy people too would soon be on the sick list due to lack of adequate food. Now is of course probably, in a way that can be perversely perceived, the best time to instill good eating habits in people.


Many people, even among the poorest populations, were accustomed to high carbohydrate diets, as they swallowed mountains of rice or flour preparations in large quantities for all three meals.

It also caused nutritional problems, not because of a lack of food of course, but because of the repercussions of such an unhealthy diet. Lifestyle changes have been recommended because ingrained habits are hard to get rid of.

Now may be the best time for nutritionists to get the message out that people, even if they want to get back to normal and three meals a day, shouldn’t fall into the habit of high carbohydrate diets when they can afford it again.

They could also instill healthy eating in their children. At the moment, the problem may be that struggling parents do not have enough food to feed their children. But, as soon as they have the means, they must not rush to return to diets which were far from satisfactory for young people who are sometimes victims of modern diseases such as obesity and diabetes.

Of course, poor eating habits go hand in hand with lack of access to food for the simple reason that parents cannot feed their children a balanced diet because they cannot afford it. But the other side of the coin is that it is also the problem of rich parents in wealthy countries. They have too much money to buy all the bric-a-brac readily available for sale and enjoyed by children because the bric-a-brac vendors always make their food tasty and appealing.

Surely that’s not the problem parents have here right now. But keeping an eye on how the problem of food inflation can be solved in the short term, there may be some positivity that emerges from this unenviable crisis that people facing spiraling food inflation are currently facing.

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