REPORTS FROM THE
of fresh produce rises in
Nairobi as rains disrupt supply
rains have damaged roads making it difficult for
farmers and middlemen to reach farms and markets
REPORT BY XINHUA Correspondent
(Xinhua) -- The
price of fresh produce in Kenya has jumped up due to
heavy rains that are pounding various parts of the
East African nation.
rains have disrupted transport activities cutting off
smooth supply of fresh produce from farms to markets.
This has led to rise in prices of fresh food produce
that include tomatoes, onions, sukuma wiki (kales) and
from various markets in the East African nation
indicated the cost of fresh food items has increased
by between 20 percent and 50 percent in the past weeks
as rains intensify.
blamed the rise to shortage of produce occasioned by
heavy rains, which have disrupted transport
rains have damaged roads making it difficult for
farmers and middlemen to reach farms and markets. In
some areas, the rains have destroyed crops on farms
making farmers incur losses.
has become a very huge problem for farmers and
middlemen because of the rains. They cannot access
farms since in some places the roads have been cut
off. Those who reach farms have to incur heavy
expenses,” Fred Gathithu, who grows a variety of
horticulture crops at a farm in Juja on the
outskirts of Nairobi, recounted on Monday.
noted prices of fresh produce have been affected in
of the roads have been washed away cutting off
supply from farms leading to shortages. On the other
hand, transport costs have increased since the roads
are bad. This has subsequently led to rise in cost
of transport and thus food items, “ said Gathithu,
who supplies tomatoes, onions and kales to traders
in the east of the capital.
64 kg box of tomatoes in various towns across the East
African nation is currently retailing at an average of
80 U.S. dollars, up from up from 60 dollars before the
start of the heavy rains.
of the commodity in some towns in Kenya rise to up to
105 dollars. Areas hard hit by the high price of
tomatoes, according to data from Ministry of
Agriculture and other institutions, are Mombasa,
Nairobi and Kisumu.
Mombasa, the box of tomatoes is retailing at an
average of 100 dollars, in Kisumu 76 dollars and in
Nairobi 80 dollars.
is a huge shortage of tomatoes, which has caused the
sharp price hikes. This happens whenever there are
rains. Tomatoes perform better during the dry
season. Most of those supplying the commodities to
the market are farmers who use green houses,” said
difficulty in transporting the produce from farms has
thus compounded the problem for consumers, who have to
put up with the high prices.
are buying tomatoes at very high prices and it has
become difficult to find them,” said Nancy Auma,
who runs a grocery in Komarock on the east of
Nairobi. For Auma and many other traders, the high
prices of tomatoes have made it hard for them to buy
a whole box.
cannot afford the price. These days I buy a half a
box or a quarter. This means the cost increases
slightly,” she noted.
her food store, Auma is selling tomatoes at 0.11
dollars each. Two weeks ago, the trader, as many
others in the city, was selling three tomatoes at 0.23
have become tough. The prices have increased
reducing the purchasing power of consumers. Most of
those who come here to buy are complaining of the
cost, but it is not our fault, we have to make
profits,” she said.
the cost of onions has gone up. In various towns in
Kenya, a 13 kg bag of the commodity is going for
between 8.2 dollars and 14 dollars.
the capital Nairobi, the food item is retailing at 9.4
dollars n wholesale markets, with traders in suburbs
selling the commodity at between 0.05 dollars and 0.11
the other hand, a 50 kg bag of kales is going at an
average of 14 dollars across markets in the East
the capital Nairobi, while some traders have reduced
the size of the bunch of the commodity and are selling
it at 0.05 dollars, others have maintained the size
and doubled the price.
depends with who are your customers. Some customers
are price sensitive. For them, it is better you
reduce the size of a bunch and maintain the cost
than increase the price,” explained Auma, who is
selling a bunch of kales at 0.11 dollars.
food products whose prices have gone up include maize,
fruits, cabbages and carrots. A 90 kg bag of dry maize
is currently retailing in the East African nation at
an average of 38 dollars, up from 35 dollars.
traders are selling a piece of cabbage at an average
of 0.58 dollars and a 90 kg bag of oranges is going
for 30 dollars, up from 27 dollars.
and Auma noted that prices of the commodities will
only come down if the rains subside.
current transport problems caused by heavy rains
persist, then fresh food prices will rise
further,” said Auma.
warn of looming
food shortage in Kenya
(Xinhua) -- Kenyan experts warned Friday of
a looming food shortage due to prolonged political
campaigns and heavy rains that have disrupted
transport and farming activities across East Africa.
Society for Agricultural Professionals (KESAP)
chairman Paul Mbuni told Xinhua that the destruction
of infrastructure such as roads and bridges would
reduce food supplies and lead to food insecurity
towards the end of this year.
the current rains continue with the same intensity
for the next three weeks, we expect food shortages
and escalation of food prices in May and June this
year,” he said.
former Agriculture Minister Sally Kosgei said
increased political activities had disrupted farming
activities in the Rift Valley, the country’s grain
basket, which could contribute to a food crisis.
farmers, especially in the North Rift region, shied
away from tending to their farms in good time for
fear of the unknown,” she said.
said there was an urgent need for the government to
step in to restore the destroyed infrastructure and
explore means to make farm inputs available to all
farmers at an affordable cost.
said small-scale farmers had been the hardest hit as
most of their farming was carried out in the open,
exposing their produce to torrents and flash floods.
floods have caused at least 32 deaths, displaced
18,633 others and resulted in widespread destruction
of property and infrastructure, as well as disruption
of key activities, such as farming and education.
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