9 May 2017

Kenya: Food Prices Rise Across Kenya

Photo: The Nation
Maize flour on sale in a shop. A two-kilogram packet of flour is currently retailing at an average of Sh150, up from Sh90 last November.

With Sh1,000 two months ago, one could buy 30 kilos of Irish potatoes in Nakuru town and still keep change.

Things have since changed, however, and the amount will fetch only 10 kilos, dramatically signalling the high cost of living that has seen food prices shoot through the roof.

Alternatively, Sh1,000 can get you a two-kilogramme tin of potatoes for Sh200 and a few other items that make up a meal, but you will have to leave out some.

You may buy a kilo of beans at Sh150, one cabbage at Sh70, four maize cobs at Sh70, four rows of bananas, a two kilogramme packet of maize flour at Sh140, a packet of milk at Sh54, half a litre of oil at Sh108 and one kilo of sugar at Sh175. And that will be all.

"A 17-kilogramme tin of potatoes that was selling at Sh450 in February now goes for Sh1,000," Mr Gerald Kilonzo, a trader at Nakuru's Wakulima market told the Nation on Tuesday.

A spot check at Tuskys, Choppies and Woolmatt supermarkets in Nakuru town showed that various brands of maize flour such as Pembe, Dola, Jogoo and Butterfly Mark-1 were selling at Sh152.

A packet of milk was going for between Sh66 and Sh70 across the various supermarkets.


The brands of sugar available in the supermarkets are Mara sugar and Kabras, which are selling at Sh380 for a two-kilogramme packet.

At the Top market in Nakuru's town centre, a one-kilogramme tin of dry maize is going for Sh45. This has seen many residents opt for it as the price of flour in shops is way higher.

A kilogramme sold for between Sh15 and Sh20 late last year.

On Tuesday, a two-kilogramme tin of beans was retailing at between Sh180 and Sh200.

According to traders at the market, this was expected to soar even further because of the higher demand coming with the planting season.

In Kisumu, a spot check revealed that the prices of maize, beans, flour, sugar and milk had more than doubled due to shortages.

At Tumaini supermarket next to Nyalenda estate, shoppers from informal settlements say they had reduced or stopped buying commodities such as milk.

"I have had to reduce the number of milk packets I consume from four to two a day," said Ms Mary Asiago.

At the same supermarket, a two-kilogramme packet of Dola maize flour now retails at Sh150, up from Sh104 a few months ago, while a 5kg bag now goes for Sh390 from Sh285 three months ago.


Other maize flour brands such as Soko, Nguvu and Jogoo were out of stock.

A 1kg packet of sugar at the supermarket is being sold at Sh225 up from Sh120 in January, while a 2kg packet retails at Sh420 up from Sh250 during the same period.

At the Jubilee market, a 90kg bag of potatoes now costs Sh5, 000 up from Sh1,800.

The price of a two-kilogramme tin of maize also shot up from Sh80 in January to Sh180.

"The prices for beans have increased by around Sh70 for all the varieties which are Rosecoco, Nyayo and yellow/green retailing as high as Sh330 from Sh180," said Ms Sylvia Mirera.

In Kisii, residents say many commodities were not only expensive, they were also scarce.

"As much as the prices are high we are also suffering because of unavailability of the foodstuff," said Ms Elizabeth Kerubo, a cereal retailer in Kisii town.

Workers at Naivas Supermarket said a 2kg packet of maize flour cost Sh144 up from Sh120 a few months ago, while that of a 2kg packet of sugar rose from Sh200 to Sh350.

A packet of 500 ml KCC milk at the same supermarket currently retails at Sh62 up from Sh50, with that of Brookside costing Sh70, up from Sh55 three months ago.


"It's long since I saw maize flour and sugar on our shelves," says a worker who sought anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.

At the open air Daraja Mbili market, a 2kg tin of potatoes costs Sh200 up from Sh80 two months ago.

The price of two kilos of beans has also increased from Sh220 to Sh300 and a 90kg bag from Sh8,360 to Sh11,400. A two kilogramme tin of maize costs Sh150 up from Sh100, also two months ago.

In Kakamega, those who spoke to the Nation said they had turned to traditional maize millers to save on cost.

The price of a 90kg dry maize is Sh4,500, while Rosecoco beans sells at Sh300 per kilogramme.

The price of a two-kilogramme bag of maize flour at various supermarkets is between Sh160 and Sh170, with Jambo being the only brand at Tuskys costing Sh157.

Report by Magdalene Wanja, Rushdie Oudia, Nyaboga Kiage, Winnie Atieno, Linet Wafula, Nicolas Komu and Brenda Gamonde.


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