Prices of vegetables have more than doubled, piling pressure on consumers and the hospitality industry, even as observers tip the trend to persist deep in the coming months.
A spot check shows that prices of tomatoes, kale, spinach, potatoes, onions and capsicum have nearly doubled.
For instance, one-crate of tomato now retails at Sh9,000, up from Sh4,500 in 2019. Meanwhile, a 50-kilogramme bag of onion has risen from Sh2,600 to Sh4,800.
Mentoria Economics Chief economist Ken Gichinga attributes the rise to erratic weather conditions that hit various parts of the country late 2019 and early this year.
“This has resulted in cost-push inflation as demand for food has outstripped what the market can supply,” said Mr Gichinga.
On the other hand, a sack of kale now goes for Sh8,500, up from Sh2,500. Also, a sack of spinach has risen by Sh9,000 to Sh12,000.
This comes as customers are already bearing high costs of foodstuffs like sugar and maize flour.
Meanwhile, a 90-kilogramme bag of potatoes has jumped from Sh2,300 to Sh5,500.
Kidney beans have not been spared either, rising from Sh75 to Sh90 per kilogramme. A kilogramme of capsicum has gone up by Sh50.
Mr Gichinga added that the rise in fuel cost has played a part in the surging prices.
“The outlook will much depend on how the weather pattern will unfold and the demand for these products,” he added.
Mr Gichinga said the ripple effect would also be felt by hoteliers who will be forced to increase food prices to avoid losses.
“Restaurants will have to make hard decisions — whether to increase their prices as Kenyans are sensitive to any price changes,” he added.
Latest Leading Economic Indicators show that the Consumer Price Index rose from 202.94 last November to 204.77 in December.
Moreover, the overall rate of inflation rose from 5.56 percent to 5.82 during the same period.
The price rise comes at a time Kenyans are feeling a pinch of the poor economy.