Bumper harvest cuts food prices by more than half
Posted Tuesday, July 31 2012 at 20:16
The prices of most foodstuffs have decreased by more than half following a bumper harvest in Nakuru.
The Kenya Federation of Agricultural Producers (Kenfap) said that maize, beans, Irish potatoes and vegetables were in plenty and early planters were releasing maize to the market.
Kenfap Nakuru Chapter Chairman Samuel Gitonga said the maize harvest was good despite farmers having planted less because of the high cost of farm inputs, including seeds.
“The little that was planted has done much better than the last season and farmers have already started harvesting,” Mr Gitonga said.
He attributed this to adequate rains. Since early April, Nakuru has been experiencing constant rains. Also, there have been few cases of the lethal maize necrosis disease, which has threatened production in most parts of the country.
And for the first time, Mr Gitonga said wheat harvested in Nakuru County is much more than the maize. Wheat is mainly grown in Njoro District and parts of Bahati in Nakuru North District. Following farmers’ overreliance on maize, the Rift Valley Director of Agriculture Philip Ochieng’ had launched programmes to encourage farmers to plant wheat.
According to traders at the town’s main market, the prices of the commodities mostly consumed in the region have reduced by more than 50 per cent.
Last month, 25kg of Irish potatoes that were retailing at Sh300 are now being sold at between Sh150 and Sh200.
The price of a 500g tin of peas, according to one of the traders, Elizabeth Njoki, has gone down from Sh60 shillings to Sh40.
The reduction in food prices could not have come at a better time for consumers.
‘Some time around April, I could not use tomatoes and onions when cooking because a kilo cost Sh150. But today I can buy the same at Sh60 shillings,” a resident who only identified herself as Margaret said in an interview.
Grocers in the town say they have abundant supplies of most foodstuff. Most of the vegetables are grown in Molo, Kuresoi and Mau Narok areas while other foods come from Ndundori, at the boundary of Nakuru and Nyandarua County.