Vegetables price fall gives households food budget relief


A fresh produce trader in Kisii. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The prices of vegetables, among goods used to measure inflation, declined the most due to improved weather, easing the burden on homes battling expensive food.

Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) data show a kilogramme of sukuma wiki retailed at Sh46.60 in May down from Sh62.90 in April, a 25 per cent drop.

Homes that opted for cabbages as an alternative to sukuma wiki, bought a kilogramme of the commodity at Sh64 in May, a 25 per cent drop from the Sh85 it sold at in April.

A kilogramme of spinach dropped by 13 per cent from the Sh59.70 it retailed at in April to Sh51.50 in May.

Vegetables are normally consumed with staple maize flour whose average prices dropped by Sh6.20 to Sh129.64 in May from April when it stood at Sh135.87 following government interventions.

“There was a decline in the prices of sukuma wiki, cabbages, potatoes and spinach mainly due to ongoing rains,” said the KNBS report.

Many Kenyans are struggling to put a decent meal on the table as food prices race ahead of wages, especially for poor households who spend a larger share of their income on food.

A kilogramme of Irish potatoes dropped by 15 per cent to Sh84.95 in May from April’s Sh100.60.

Despite the drop in vegetable prices, the food index increased owing to rise in prices of sugar, milk and maize grain, which outweighed the decreases.

Inflation hit a five-year high of 11.70 per cent, lifted by higher prices of fuel, housing and water that have been on an upward trajectory since last year.

The KNBS data shows inflation increased from 11.48 per cent in April to 11.70 per cent in May -the highest rate since May 2012.