Food affordability index has improved by 1.3% in May compared to April

27 June 2022

Despite the fact that as of mid-May, the food availability index (FAI) is 1.3% higher than at the end of April, it is 37% lower than the pre-war level. Before the invasion, the FAI was 12.4. So, a person with an average salary could buy a number of “baskets of goods” equivalent to a stock for 12.4 months. The current FAI is only 7.8. Thus, we continue to observe significantly reduced purchasing power relative to the main food products of the Ukrainian consumer.

Significantly higher prices and declining product range currently characterize the food market in Ukraine. In May the value of “basket of goods” is 4.4% higher than at the end of February, and the range of products in the Donetsk region is the lowest compared to other regions of Ukraine. This is stated in the Food Security and Agricultural Policy Review – the regular monitoring of the food security situation in Ukraine and wartime agricultural policy provided by the Center for Food Research and Land Use KSE Institute in cooperation with the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine.

“In 2019-2021 Ukraine accounted for nearly 10% of global wheat and 15% of corn exports, 15% of barley exports and nearly 50% of sunflower oil exports. RF’s invasion of Ukraine has demonstrated the role of Ukraine in ensuring global food security,” said experts of the KSE Institute’s Center for Food and Land Use Research. “Blocked exports, reduced acreage of arable land and threatened harvest campaign are keeping world prices high, creating the risk not only to undermine the country’s agri-food sector and overall economy, but also to starve hundreds of millions globally.” The review shall assist various stakeholders and interested parties in taking decisions based on facts and evidence.

FOOD AFFORDABILITY INDEX

The average price for the “basket of goods” in Ukraine went down by 1.3% for the week spanning May 9-May 13 as compared to April 18-April 22. Only one-third of the products in our basket increased in price, while two-thirds became cheaper. Still, the price of our basket is 4.4% higher compared to the week prior to the RF invasion, February 21-February 25.

Compared to the previous period of observation, the most significant drop in the price of the goods basket is for the temporary occupied Kherson oblast: the basket’s price there went 10.7% down in less than a month. Nonetheless, Kherson oblast experienced the highest price increase since the beginning of the war. The price of our basket in this region is still 21.5% higher compared to February 21-February 25. The next two regions with the highest price increase for our basket are Chernihiv and Zaporizhzhia. The Chernihiv region was liberated from RF’s invaders in late March. As of May 9-May 13, the basket’s price there jumped up by 9.1% since the beginning of the war. Zaporizhzhia region is currently partially occupied and has experienced an 8.3% price jump for the same period. There is no information available for another two regions occupied by the RF’s army – Donetsk and Luhansk regions. 

Average salaries before and after the invasion, as well as the price of the basket of food products, allow for estimating the FAI – Food Affordability Index. FAI is estimated as a ratio of the average salary to the price of the basked of food products.

Before the invasion, the FAI score was 12.4, implying that the person with an average salary could buy 12.4 months’ worth of food products from our basket. The current FAI score is 7.8. Although the score is 1.3% higher than the FAI score estimated for late April, it is still 37% lower than the pre-war level. Thus, we continue witnessing decreased purchasing power (in April 18-April 22, it was 37.9%) for essential food products of an average Ukrainian consumer.

DOMESTIC FOOD PRICES

Commodities with prices decreased at the national level on 9-13 May compared to 18-22 April include wheat and rye bread, wheat flour, millet, chicken meat, milk, chicken eggs, butter, white sugar, onion, and potato. Food items with prices increased at the national level are carrots, beetroots, cabbage, sunflower oil, pork and buckwheat.

FOOD AVAILABLITY. DONETSK REGION AT HIGH RISK

As of May 13, there are problems with the availability of beef at the national level. Only 0-2 unique positions of beef are available in 15 cities. Pork and chicken meat have rather good representation: 17 and 11 unique positions, respectively, are available on average in these cities and country-wide.

The smallest average quantity of food items available within one commodity group is found in Bakhmut city (Donetsk region) – 3.26. This is 4 times lower than the country’s average. Besides that, there are no meat and bread available in stock. This does not explicitly imply a complete deficit of such products in a region but rather signalizes strong dependency on regular supplies of commodities with short shelf-life and general supply complications. Active battles taking place in very close proximity to this city is the major reason for this.