Higher food prices raise cost of living

Kariuki Gatiba arranges groceries at the Nyeri market on August 8, 2020. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NMG

Higher prices of selected food items pushed inflation up to 6.57 per cent in August from 6.55 per cent in July, the highest level since February last year.

Latest data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) showed food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation rose highest by 10.67 per cent between August 2020 and August 2021.

Transport prices rose 7.93 per cent and housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels rose 5.07 per cent in the period.

KNBS said the price of cabbages, spinach and oranges rose during the month but prices of potatoes and onions are stabilising.

“Relative to July 2021, prices of cabbages, spinach and oranges increased by 3.74, 3.06 and 2.44 per cent, respectively. In contrast, prices of potatoes and onions (leeks and bulbs) decreased by 0.48 per cent and 0.30 per cent, respectively,” said KNBS.

Over the last one year, the price of cabbages has risen by 30 per cent to retail at Sh47.6 per kilogramme, spinach is up 22 per cent to Sh66, Sukuma wiki is up 16 per cent to Sh56.4 and potatoes are up are up 13 per cent to Sh70.4.

Food and beverages account for the largest component of the inflation basket.

Food prices are usually affected by changes in weather patterns as well costs of production and delivery to the market.

Despite the spike in the last three months, Kenya’s inflation has however remained relatively stable over the past one year and within the preferred range of five percent plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.

Last month, the housing, utilities and fuels’ Index, increased by 0.32 per cent, mainly attributed to increase in prices of cooking fuel and house rent in spite of the slight decrease in the price of electricity.

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