Rising food prices bites in Kenya
22 April 2015, 21:44
Nairobi - Every morning, mason Peter
Masinde leaves his Kariobangi home on the east of Nairobi, Kenya in search of
work at construction sites.
While Masinde has been lucky since January to get work,
thanks to construction boom in the East African nation, he is now a worried man
as he is finding it difficult to budget his 3.2 U.S. dollar day pay.
"The cost of food is rising fast making me spend more
than what I did in the past months. I now have little money to spare for my
other needs that include rent," he said on Tuesday.
Some of the food items whose prices have gone up are maize
flour, meat, tomatoes, sugar, milk and vegetables, among others.
A 2kg tin of dry maize is being sold at 1.02 dollars, up
from a low of 0.86 dollar at the beginning of year. Similarly, a 2kg packet of
maize flour is now going for 1.09 dollars, up from 0.92 dollar in the same
A bunch of four leaves of sukuma wiki, Kenyas' favorite
vegetable, has doubled from 0.05 dollar while tomatoes and onions are going for
0.11 dollar each.
"More than half of my pay now goes on food, which was
not the case in the previous months. I pray that things do not get worse
because I do not think I would get a pay rise," said Masinde.
He is among hundreds of Kenyans feeling the pinch as food
price rises to a new high in the East African nation.
Food inflation currently stands at 10.96 percent, up from
8.70 percent in February, according to latest data from the Kenya National
Bureau of Statistics.
The inflation has averaged 10.71 percent since 2010, rising
to an all-time high of 26.20 percent in October 2011 and dropping to 1.44
percent in October 2012.
The faster growth of the inflation was the major cause of
the rise in East African nation's overall consumer inflation to 6.31 percent in
March, up from 5.61 percent.
Also read: Terrorist
arrested at Uhuru's home
The hardest hit is the poor, who buy goods in smaller
quantities thus spending more.
The rising food inflation has been blamed on a dry spell
that hit Kenya since February to April, affecting food production, with the
situation seemingly not getting better as the rains become erratic.
"I hope food prices will not rise further in the coming
months because we may starve. Jobs are increasingly becoming difficult to come
by and the pay is low. When you spend more than half of your daily wage on
food, then you may not even cloth your family or pay rent," said Beatrice
Mwende, who washes clothes for a living.
Economics lecturer Henry Wandera said that Kenyans should
brace for higher food inflation in the coming months as the rains are erratic.
"It only rained for about two weeks before the rains
disappeared. This means we may not produce enough food in the coming months,
leading to higher commodity prices and consequently food inflation," he