- The price of maize reduced in September as harvesting in most parts of the country continued.
- Access to government-subsidized fertilizer increased significantly to 69 percent in September 2023 relative to 49 percent in July.
The prices of some basic food commodities including onions, green maize and rice products increased in September.
According to the Agriculture sector survey released by Central Bank of Kenya, retail prices of maize and wheat products generally moderated.
The survey further shows that weather conditions, transport and input costs continue to impact both output and the prices of key food items.
Access to government subsidised fertilizer increased significantly to 69 per cent in September up from 49 per cent in July.
This was attributed to the fact that banks, friends/family, Sacco loans and the Hustler Fund were the main sources of credit for farmers for funds used to finance farm implements and inputs such as fertiliser and labour.
According to commodity prices by the Ministry of Agriculture, a kilo of dry maize is selling at an average price of Sh60, a litre of milk retails at between Sh60 to Sh70. A kilo of tomatoes is selling at Sh100 while beef retails at an average of Sh500.
A kilo of Irish potatoes in Nairobi retails at Sh90, beans at Sh200, while a kilo of kales/sukuma wiki is retailing at Sh55.
A kilo of tilapia sells at Sh510, omena fish at Sh190 and a kilo of dry onions is at between Sh140 and a high of Sh380 in some towns.
The survey reveals a decrease in the retail prices of some key agricultural commodities between August and September.
The price of maize reduced in September as harvesting in most parts of the country continued.
However, the price of rice remained elevated due to high import, transport and processing costs.
“Both packaged and unpackaged milk prices declined further in September 2023 on account of increased pasture following the long rains which led to a reduction in the volume of animal feeds being purchased,” the survey reports.
In March 17, through a gazette notice, the government allowed animal feed manufacturers to import 500,000 tonnes of duty-free yellow maize before August 6. This has stabilised the prices of feeds.
The price of sugar remained high in September due to limited supplies from the sugar belt that reported reduced cane deliveries.
The July survey mentioned factors such as premature harvesting of sugar cane by farmers to produce by-products such as jaggery and ethanol, limited support from government, limited access to credit facilities, and non-targeted fertiliser subsidies.
This is in addition to lack of transport to deliver sugar cane to millers and poor road network, exploitation by middlemen and millers who buy cheap and lack of extension services.
The Central Bank also noted that the high onion prices are on account of reduced local production and the high import prices from Tanzania, which is the main supplier.
The survey noted that there is a shift towards the Ethiopian market for onions to bridge the gap, though the prices were still high.
But prices are expected to moderate or fall gradually in October with increased local supplies and cheaper imports from Ethiopia.
Prices of maize are expected to decline in this month with the ongoing harvest in most parts of the country.
Prices of beans, rice and green grams remain high due to domestic and external factors including reduced production, high costs of inputs and imports.
“The price of processed and unprocessed milk could creep up as farmers supplement the green pasture with processed feeds as they await the short rains to commence," the study shows.
"The price of vegetable items is expected to reduce in October supported by increased supply of the fast-maturing crops from the long rains season and the start of the short rains season.”
The survey also sought to establish the factors affecting prices of select food items.
Similar to the previous surveys, the balance of opinion identified transport costs, input costs and weather conditions as the main factors impacting both retail and wholesale prices.
“Transport registered the biggest impact, following the increase in energy costs following implementation of the 16 percent VAT on pump prices and full removal of the fuel subsidy. Although supply chain disruptions, labour costs and middlemen had a positive impact, the impact was muted,” the survey says.
Other factors affecting retail and wholesale prices include natural occurrences such as floods impacting the prices through supply chain disruptions whenever they cut off some bridges and roads leading to the farms.
“Distance to markets also had a significant impact on price setting. The impact of the Russia-Ukraine war which mainly affects agriculture through disruption of fertiliser, grains and oil supply was insignificant and is possibly already captured through transport and inputs costs,” the study says.
The survey was carried out in wholesale and retail markets, and farms in major towns.
They include Nairobi, Naivasha, Gilgil, Nakuru, Narok, Bomet, Nyandarua, Nyahururu, Kisumu, Mombasa, Kisii, Eldoret, Kitale, Meru, Mwea, Machakos, Isebania, Nyeri, Molo, Kericho, Isiolo, Loitoktok, and Namanga.