Counties

Vegetable prices drop to Sh3 a kilo as schools remain closed

vegetables

Farmers who supplied schools with vegetables are counting losses as learners remain at home due to Covid-19 restrictions. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Summary

  • Farmers who supplied schools with vegetables are counting losses as learners remain at home due to Covid-19 restrictions.
  • It is a deep cut for the farmers who sell a kilo for Sh3, a sharp drop from Sh25 pre-Covid.
  • Worse, the stocks are fed to livestock due to perishability.

Farmers who supplied schools with vegetables are counting losses as learners remain at home due to Covid-19 restrictions.

It is a deep cut for the farmers who sell a kilo for Sh3, a sharp drop from Sh25 pre-Covid.

Worse, the stocks are fed to livestock due to perishability.

Schools were closed mid-March when Kenya reported its first case of the virus that has now infected more than 30,000 in the country.

Many farmers are now losing hope since it is unclear when the curve will flatten and schools reopen.

“I thought that schools would reopen sooner but the pandemic has persisted, dimming my hopes of making profits from my farming,” said Ben Nyaga, a farmer in Mathira.

There is a glut of green collards and cabbages in Nyeri market due to a favourable weather.

“My second shot was the market but there is glut because too many grocery farmers have no market,” said Mr Nyaga.

Beginning July, the produce has been selling for a song.

A ban on gatherings like funerals has also reduced demand, they said.

“We are selling a small portion of the entire stock and since they are highly perishable goods, we are feeding them to cows or sharing with the neighbours,” said Mr Nyaga, who has two acres under vegetables.

“Things have become tough since schools were closed down because they were the main source of income for most vegetable farmers,” said Cyrus Gichuki, a cabbages supplier.

At the Nyeri open air market, farmers accept Sh10 for a kilo that retails for Sh20. At the farm-gate, it goes for between Sh3 and Sh6.