Global wheat prices rise signals pain for Kenyans

Friday October 13 2017

Wheat harvesting in Narok. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Wheat harvesting in Narok. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

By GERALD ANDAE
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International wheat prices have gone up six per cent in the last one month amid low local production, signalling there will be no quick reprieve for consumers who have been paying rising prices since July.
Statistics by the UN Food and Agriculture Authority (FAO) show that the cost of a tonne of wheat has increased from Sh20,806 in September to the current Sh22,145.

Locally, low production has already seen the price of a 90-kilogramme bag of wheat go up from Sh3,000 last season to Sh3,200 this season with the scarcity expected to further push up the cost in the coming months.

The retail price of a two kilogramme packet of Exe flour is Sh138 from Sh133 in July while the Golden brand is selling at Sh133, from Sh129 with Jimbi going at Sh135 from Sh129.

The Ministry of Agriculture and a farmer’s lobby have projected local production will drop by half a million bags in the ongoing harvest.

“Wheat production this year is not good and we are expecting a drop of half a million bags in the ongoing harvest,” said Mr Anthony Kioko, chief executive officer of the Cereal Growers Association.

Wheat harvesting has been going on since July in the main growing zone of Narok before moving to Uasin Gishu County later this month.

Kenya does not produce sufficient wheat and relies on imports to meet the annual demand. This makes the country a net importer of the commodity, bringing in two-thirds of its requirement to meet the annual consumption of 900,000 tonnes against the local production of 350,000.
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