Food Inflation: When you kill so as to eat

The food insecurity in the country, which has seen millions of Kenyans facing hunger  and tens of deaths in more than 10 counties, could soon see people killing each other over a meal.

In Kakamega County last week, a 30-year-old man went into hiding after killing his elderly father over a plate of Ugali and roasted maize while a teenage boy in the Rift Valley killed his father over a plate of food during a burial ceremony.

This is just but one scenario but more than 10 million people both in urban and rural areas experience routine hunger and inability to access food.

Kenyans spend 45 percent of every Sh100 on food and drinks which indicates poverty since the large portion of hard-earned money goes to basic survival needs.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) has reported that food inflation in the country increased by 6.98 percent in June 2019 while the consumer price indices decreased by 0.36 percent from 204.34 in June 2019 to  203.61 in July  2019.

The decline in Food and Non-Alcoholic Drinks’ Index  by 1.04 per cent has been attributed mainly to decrease in price of potatoes, sukuma wiki (kales), tomatoes, cabbages and milk.  However, the cost of other commodities like maize grain, maize flour-loose, beef-with bones, carrots and onions  increased by 0.52, 1.33, 0.23, 6.81 and 1.19 per cent, respectively, over the same period.

Recently, there was a showdown between Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri and the national Strategic Food Reserve Trust Fund (SFRTF) led by chairman, Dr Noah Wekesa over the number of maize bags the country.

While CS Kiunjuri stated of a looming maize crisis and even suggested importation of the basic food commodity in the country, Dr Wekesa disagreed that there is enough maize for Kenyans.

With late rains that were observed in the first quarter of the year, maize harvesting season may happen later than the expected period hence more inflation will be seen in food prices.

The KNBS further stated that Alcoholic Beverages, Tobacco and Narcotics Index increased by 0.82 percent mainly due to increase in price of cigarettes.

The Transport Index increased by 0.22 per cent on account of increase in pump price of petrol despite the decrease in the pump price of diesel, on the same duration.

Increase in prices of electricity resulted to Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels’ Index, increase by 0.14 per cent.

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Brenda Gamonde
Brenda Gamonde
Brenda Gamonde is reporter with Business Today. Email: [email protected]

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