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Global shocks push more than 1.4 million Kenyans into poverty

By Nancy Nzau - Aug 15th 2022
37% of the country’s population have adult equivalent consumption levels that fall below Sh224. [iStockphoto]

Global shocks that have led to an increase in the cost of living and reduced agricultural productivity have pushed more than 1.4 million Kenyans below the poverty line.

This is according to a report by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) titled Kenya: Impacts of the Ukraine and Global Crises on Poverty and Food Security'.

The report notes that rising fertiliser prices have caused farmers to reduce their usage of the farming input, leading to lower agricultural production and higher food prices.

It said that while global food, fuel, and fertiliser prices have risen rapidly in recent months - driven in large part by the fallout from the ongoing war in Ukraine and the sanctions imposed on Russia, other factors, such as export bans, have also contributed to rising prices.

“Palm oil and wheat prices increased by 56 per cent and 100 per cent in real terms respectively, between June 2021 and April 2022, with most of the increase occurring since February.”

The data has further shown that the increase in world prices has raised the national poverty headcount rate in Kenya by 2.6 percentage points - equivalent to an additional 1.4 million people falling below the poverty line.

“According to the most recent Household Survey in Kenya (2015/16), 37 per cent of the country’s population have adult equivalent consumption levels that fall below the $1.90 (Sh224) poverty line.”

IFPRI added that the most significant absolute increase in the poor population is in rural areas which also bear the brunt of falling household consumption. 

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