News and knowhow for farmers

Drought pushes potato prices high

chips with chicken- phot by OLX.jpg

French fries served with a piece of chicken in an eating joint. The cost of potatoes rise pushing the French fry cost up. Photo by OLX.

While short season farmers suffered input losses after the four to five months drought, consumers of compelling goods such as potatoes and tomatoes are paying up to double for the commodities.

Towns are the most affected, with French fries, popular Irish potato delicacy rising in price while the quantity is diminishing.

The cost of French fries – commonly called chips – has sharply risen in Nairobi as the shortage continues against high demand.

A share, which retailed at about Sh50 to months ago has risen to Sh80-Sh100.

A 50kg bag of red Irish potatoes is costing Sh3,500 while the white variety is fetching Sh200 less in Nairobi’s Wakulima Market on wholesale.

There are also variations in the costs in respect to the deliveries every day.

Potatoes in a 10kg bucket, which cost about between Sh350 and Sh450 a few months ago, is selling at more than Sh1,000 in the various satellite towns of the city like Ongata Rongai.

The Irish potatoes are not only expensive in Nairobi, but other major town in Kenya. In Kisumu for example the 50kg quantity is costing Sh3,800 while it is fetching  Sh3,350  and Sh2,800 in Kitui and Mombasa respectively – according to Soko Directory.

The potatoes are not only a common lunch delicacy for the adults, but also the weaning food for children in urban.

Potatoes are smashed together with plantains (matoke), pumpkins carrots and other fruits for the children.

Potatoes take three to four months from planting to harvesting.

Most farmers depend on rains for production of crops. With the dry spell setting in from September 2016, and covering most part of the country by February 2017, all that had been planted dried if there was not irrigation.

This has caused the rise of the prices of agriculture commodities such as tomatoes, cabbages, peas, milk, maize, among others.

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