SHORT SUPPLY

Cabbage shortage hits the market as supply drops

Crops such as carrots, potatoes, cabbage, kale and spinach began to rot in farms due to water logging

In Summary
  • Cabbage, which is a common vegetable - popular in many households due to its affordability - has seen an increase in price from Sh50 to Sh200 for a medium-sized piece
  • Not only have cabbage sellers moved to other businesses, but consumers have also turned to other alternatives
Cabbage at a demo farm in KALRO Seeds in Gatanga, Murang'a county.
Cabbage at a demo farm in KALRO Seeds in Gatanga, Murang'a county.
Image: JOHN KAMAU

Consumers and traders in Murang’a county are grappling with acute vegetable shortage, weeks after heavy rains were experienced in the country. 

The pounding rains in March that left destruction, displacement and deaths in its wake, greatly affected agriculture.

Crops such as carrots, potatoes, cabbage, kale and spinach began to rot in farms due to water logging. 

This led to reduced harvest and subsequently, increase in vegetable prices.

Cabbage, which is a common vegetable - popular in many households due to its affordability - has seen an increase in price from Sh50 to Sh200 for a medium-sized piece.

At Kenol’s Wairia market, a spot check revealed that not only have cabbage sellers moved to other businesses, but consumers have also turned to other alternatives.

Samuel Maina, a trader at the market, said the scarcity has forced him to source for cabbages from Eldoret.

However, sales have significantly reduced as consumers cite high cost of living and opt for other affordable alternatives. 

“Currently the gate price for a medium sized cabbage is Sh70 to Sh80 which I’m now selling at Sh140. Previously, the same cabbage would go for Sh30 gate price and I would sell it at between Sh50 and Sh70,” he said.

“The commodity is also slow moving as I would sell up to 2,000 pieces a week and would make two trips to source for it but now I’m making only one trip in a week,” he added. 

Consumers said with the price hike, changes in household menus were necessary. 

Sharon Waithera, a mother of three, said the high price of vegetables forced her family to consider other alternatives to accompany the staple meal, ugali.

A kilogramme of spinach is retailing at Sh120 while that of kales commonly known as sukuma wiki is retailing at Sh100. Traditional vegetables are not available anymore, while one medium sized tomato is going for Sh10,” Waithera said.

Previously, a kilogram of spinach and kale in the same market retailed at Sh60 and Sh40 respectively.

We have opted to use cereals and sometimes even take tea and ugali,” she added. 

The scarcity highlights the need to study market trends in relation to  climate change, to avoid the extremes of glut and shortage that often result from shifting weather patterns and other phenomena.

 

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