Major towns hit by acute shortage of fresh produce

Prices of the produce have skyrocketed

In Summary

-          Over 30 counties affected by the drought

-          Six million people in need of food relief

Farmers harvest potatoes in Kinangop in Nyandarua county.
POTATOES: Farmers harvest potatoes in Kinangop in Nyandarua county.
Image: George Murage

Farmers and traders from the agriculture rich area of Kinangop in Nyandarua County are warning of a looming shortage of fresh produce in major towns due to the harsh weather conditions.

Vegetable prices have tripled in the last three months with major towns like Naivasha, Nakuru and Nairobi that rely on the county experiencing a shortage.

As a result of the crisis, traders have been forced to travel to Narok, Nyeri and Bomet to procure the produce even as consumers continue to complain of high prices.

At the Soko Mpya fresh vegetable market along the Nairobi-Nakuru highway, traders admitted that the drought was slowly forcing them out of business.

According to Simon Mwangi, they have been forced to increase the price of peas, cabbages, tomatoes and carrots due to a shortage.

Mwangi added that currently a bucket of peas was going for Sh2, 000 from Sh700 a couple of month’s back, a price that many consumers could not afford.

“Many of the consumers are going for goods that they cannot do without like cabbages but products like peas are now considered as luxury,” he said.

The seasoned trader added that they have to travel to Molo and Narok to buy peas as the drought had adversely affected Nyandarua, which is one of the country’s food baskets.

Paul Njoroge who deals with cabbages said that one piece was going for between Sh60 and 70 up from Sh20 late last year.

He attributed the increase to the acute shortage occasioned by drought that has currently affected more than 30 counties.

“Getting cabbage is a major headache for many traders and this has been worsened by the harsh economic times that have affected the purchasing power of the consumers,” he said.

John Kinuthia said that the solution lies in provision of water to farmers so that they could improve production even during drought.

“On a good day we were selling over 10 tonnes of cabbages to Mombasa, Nakuru and other towns but currently even hitting two tonnes is a major challenge,” he said.

Monica Njeri said that they are currently travelling all the way to Bomet to buy cabbages as Nyandarua County has reported major crop failure.

“In the past, I was buying over 3,000 pieces of cabbage every week but getting 1,000 is a tall order due to the harsh weather conditions that have affected farming,” she said.

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