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Food prices in Nyeri soar as drought continue to bite

Monday April 8 2019

Chaka market in Nyeri County

Elizabeth Wanjiru sorts out groceries at her stand at Chaka market in Nyeri County on April 8, 2019. Prices of fresh produce in Nyeri County have nearly doubled as the effects of drought continue to be felt in the region and in different parts of the country. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

IRENE MUGO
By IRENE MUGO
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Prices of fresh produce in Nyeri County have nearly doubled as the effects of drought continue to be felt in the region and in different parts of the country.

Traders in major markets in the county have decried reduced profits as customers keep off due to the high prices of commodities.

In the last four months, farmers have reduced their supplies to the markets as production has declined to a point where basic fresh produce such as vegetables are unavailable in the market.

LONG RAINS

Though the first two months of the year are normally dry, the failure of the long rains to start in March has further threatened food security in the county.

“Everything has shot up; we are not making profits because the little we get is being suffocated in transport as we fetch goods from other counties,” noted Ms Mercy Maina.

At the Chaka market, majority of the traders do not have adequate supplies of vegetables such as sukumawiki, cabbages and spinach.

The scarcity has also pushed prices up with a kilo of peas selling at Sh200 up from Sh80.

FRESH PRODUCE

“We rely on farmers from Kieni to supply us with fresh produce but the lack of rains and scarcity of water in rivers have dealt us a blow because the farmers have nothing to supply to us,” said Ms Agnes Wanjiru, another trader at the market.

Kieni Constituency, which is the food basket of Nyeri County, has more than 31,000 people affected by the drought and are in dire need of food aid.

Besides peas, the price of potatoes has gone up by 50 percent. A 17kg bucket is selling at Sh600 up from Sh400.

At the same time, a kilo tomatoes is selling at Sh100 up from 60 while carrots are selling at Sh80 up from Sh30 a kilo.

But the market is flooded with avocados which are in season, watermelons from Ukambani and bananas from the neighbouring Kirinyaga County where farmers are grappling with a glut of the produce.