Fresh produce prices soar as dry spell persist

The prolonged dry spell that has ravaged the country have greatly affected food security as one of the pillars among the big four agendas. Due to global warming, farmers can no longer rely on rain-fed agriculture as the rain patterns are unpredictable. Previous years, rain used to be forthcoming hence food production was more certain. The rising population demand for a reliable harvest with or without rains for sustenance.

At Wakulima market in Nairobi, prices of fresh produce have soared because of the prolonged dry spell. It is about 6am at Wakulima Market and we are among the early birds together with smallholder vegetable sellers, thronging to purchase commodities. Wakulima market popularly known as Marikiti, is the first place most of the fresh produce in Nairobi lands first.

Marikiti, which is co-joined to Muthurwa Market, is a bee-hive of activities from the wee hours of the night. There are usually trucks full of assorted farm produce even from neighboring countries; Uganda and Tanzania, but the moment, the trucks are half full due to lack of the commodities from the farms.

Grace Wangechi a vegetable retailer revealed that the price of a crate of tomatoes has increased from ksh4, 000 to ksh10, 000 due to high demand occasioned by the current dry weather that has led to shortage of the commodity.“The margin price for the dozen of tomatoes I purchase here are encouraging. But in order for me to get an even better margin, I have to arrive very early; the early bird catches the worm,” Wangechi said.

Nationally, fresh produce has gradually declined as quantities produced dwindle. In Kangemi market for instance, prices of basic fresh produce has doubled and in some cases tripled to the dismay of consumers who are forced to dig dipper in their pockets.  For example, according to Consumer Prices Indices (CPI) from Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KEBS), month to month price for tomatoes increased from ksh44.32 to ksh47.30 per kilo between January and February this year. “Business is good. All my fresh produce especially tomatoes have been sold. This is the best season, no tomatoes, cabbages or spinaches left,” Said Nancy Oloo, a small trader at Kangemi market.

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