Locals struggle with rising cost of living

Mary Njeri prepares to sell foodstuffs at her stall in Wakuliuma Market on Monday. The prices have shot up sharply, worrying Nakuru residents. [Harun Wathari. Standard]

Life is becoming increasingly hard for Florence Chelagat, as food prices keep rising.

Ms Chelagat, a resident of London Estate in Nakuru, lives with her daughter and two grandchildren. 

“Foodstuff have become very expensive. We are suffering at home,” Chelagat said as she shopped for groceries at Wakulima Market. 

She explained that as prices increase, she is now forced to cut the number of meals her family takes.

“When I cook on Sun­day, I cook enough to last the family till Wednesday. We don’t have the luxury of cooking different delicacies each day,” Chelagat said.

Consumers in the county are facing rising costs of living, as food prices have shot up by nearly 100 per cent. The long dry spell has seen low production from farmers.

“When I go to the grocery today, I will pay Sh100 for an item. By next week, that same item will be selling for Sh200,” Chelagat said.

Avoiding tomatoes 

Another resident, Catherine Jepkemei, tells of  the same rising food prices story. She said she used to go to the market early so as to get cheaper offers for food items, but these days it does not matter how early one gets to the market; the prices are all the same.

“I have opted to avoid cooking with tomatoes as long as I have onions. One tomato nowadays goes for Sh20. Sometimes back you could get four of them for the same price,” said Ms Jepkemei.

Mary Njeri, a retailer at the Nakuru Retail Market told The Standard that it is not only vegetables whose prices have increased.

Cereals too have been affected.

“I used to sell lentils at about Sh80 per Kilogramme, but now I’m forced to sell them at around Sh175. The price has almost doubled,” Ms Njeri said.

She explains that her broker who has been supplying her with cereals for the last 12 years, hit her with a price increase. She was also forced to pass the new cost to the consumer.

According to the Trading Economic website, the cost of food in Kenya increased at a rate of 2.84 per cent in March, 2019, compared to a similar period last year.

The data from the website, released three days ago, showed that food Inflation in Kenya averaged 9.8 per cent from 2010 until 2019.

It reached an all time high of 26.2 per cent in October of 2011, and a record low of -1.15 per cent in August 2018.

Ann Waithera, who sells vegetable at Wakulima Market just like Njeri, attributes the increase of prices to drought which has affected most parts of the country.

The mother of two said she could make Sh15,000 a day selling her merchandise.  Presently she manages only Sh5,000.

“Customers can’t afford to buy the vegetables anymore, the prices are too high,” said Ms Waithera.

 Felix Odhiambo, a fruit vendor is also suffering. His business no longer offers him the profits it used to.

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food pricesTough Economy