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Survey: Some Bahamians eating less or skipping meals due to high inflation

A recent United Nations’ World Food Program (WFP) survey revealed that many Bahamians have been forced to eat less or skip meals this year as inflation continues to burden The Bahamas.

The Caribbean Food Security and Livelihood Survey, which was launched by CARICOM, surveyed a total of 734 Bahamians in February and August – the bulk of whom were surveyed in February.

Two hundred and four people indicated they were worried they would not have enough food to eat.

One hundred and forty people said they went a day without eating and 166 people said there were times in the past 30 days when they were hungry but did not eat.

Two hundred and six people responded that they had to skip a meal and 241 people said they ate less than they thought they should.

One hundred and twenty people indicated they ate less preferred foods in the past seven days and 171 indicated they skipped meals or ate less than usual during that same period.

More than half of the respondents were between 41 and 60 and over 20 percent of them work in the tourism industry.

“The food security and livelihoods of people in the Caribbean have undergone significant changes in the past two years,” the report noted.

“This survey shows that while the effects of COVID-19 had a profound impact on how people in the Caribbean meet their most pressing needs and earn a living, its impact has been significantly aggravated by the cost of living crisis.

“Most countries in the Caribbean have still not recovered from the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving them ill-equipped to cope with yet another crisis. Incomes are still depressed, labor markets are still struggling to recover, and the prices of food, fuel and fertilizers are at record levels.”

The report said governments’ limited fiscal space and further indebtedness continue to impact the ability to fully address the crisis and its impacts.

The report added that the cost of living crisis is undermining food security globally and regionally.

“The Caribbean relies heavily on food imports for both domestic consumption and to supply the tourism industry,” it said.

“The steadily growing price of livelihood inputs is the main reason causing disruptions to people’s livelihoods, and the impact on incomes and well-being remains pervasive.”

Since the start of the year, The Bahamas, like many other countries, has been battling historically high inflation caused by supply chain disruptions stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, which was exasperated by the war in Ukraine.

During the 12 months to April, average consumer price inflation accelerated to 3.8 percent from 0.4 percent in the corresponding period of 2021, according to the Central Bank of The Bahamas.

The International Monetary Fund said it expects inflation to remain “stubbornly high” and predicted a return to normal pricing levels by 2024.

Last month, Prime Minister Philip Davis said the high level of inflation is expected to continue for the next few months.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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