Food inflation rate remains high in Latin America with the greatest impact on the poor population
By Anna Flack
Venezuela had the highest inflation rate for food of Latin America, according to data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). As of September 2022 (the latest comprehensive report), the country saw an increase of 110.4 percent from the same month of 2021. Argentina had the second highest food inflation rate, at 86.6 percent.
A review of the data in early April 2023 shows relatively little change within the last six months, although food inflation has increased slightly in Venezuela and Argentina and reduced by one to two percent in Peru, Ecuador, Uruguay and the Caribbean region. According to the UN, higher prices remain “stubbornly high in 2023, affecting a large part of the population.”
The three countries with the lowest food inflation rates for the same period are Bolivia (2.2 percent), Panama (5 percent) and Ecuador (7.1 percent). According to the FAO, average annual food inflation in the region was 43.9 percent in September 2022, while globally it did not exceed 23 percent.
In addition to socio-economic factors on a national basis, the region is also still experiencing the wake of global events. The United Nations Development Programme explains: “More than a year into the conflict between Ukraine and Russia and more than three years into the COVID-19 pandemic, the broad repercussions of these overlapping crises continue to affect societies in Latin America and the Caribbean.”
Food inflation does not affect all citizens in the same way: according to the organization, the most vulnerable populations, including lower-income households, are affected “disproportionately due to their greater budget allocation towards spending on food.”