By George Munene
The expected entry of Tanzanian onions into the Kenyan market is leading to a mass sell-off of stored onions by local growers. This has seen prices fall 12 per cent in the past month.
“Kenyan farmers and wholesalers had been hoarding onions creating an artificial shortage in markets.
It was a seller’s market with brokers futilely trying to push down onion farm gate prices and prices had been anticipated to hit the Sh100 mark by the end of May, ” said Joshua Mamwaka, a wholesaler at Nairobi’s Marikiti market.
However, it’s now a race against time for onion farmers as they try to beat the flooding of Tanzanian onions into the market.
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Tanzanian onions are prized by Kenyan traders as they are often well dried and cured.
White onions have however been amongst the best market performers holding steady at Sh100.
Potatoes are down about 30 percent as are French beans owing to market oversupply. Green capsicums are also down 25 per cent.
Imported garlic has also been a marked underperformer, falling 15 per cent. Local garlic has however held its price.
In a spot check of Nairobi’s Muthurwa and Wakulima markets, tomato oversupply caused by both local growers and the entry of Ethiopian tomatoes has seen wholesale prices remain relatively stagnant at Sh6,000 for a 100-kilogram turbo box.
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According to data from the Kenya Agricultural Market Information System (KAMIS) the wholesale price of dry maize is highest in Nairobi’s Nyamakima at Sh106 with the retail price at Sh123.33. Wholesale prices were lowest in Kajiado at Sh38.
Average retail tilapia prices are down by Sh50 from a week ago to Sh510/kg on Thursday this week. Retail beef prices have held an average price of Sh466.37 through the week.