By George Munene
According to the Central Bank of Kenya’s (CBK), January 2023 Agriculture Sector Survey prices of most food items are expected to decline or remain unchanged in February 2023.
Per the monthly survey that captures farmer, retailer, and wholesaler sentiment in the country, the majority of the respondents (61 per cent), expect retail prices of cereals and grains to either decline (22 per cent) or remain unchanged (39 percent).
The supply of food items, mainly maize, rice, and wheat are expected to increase in the coming months supported by ongoing harvests and expected duty-free imports.
The expected moderation of maize and wheat prices is on account of ongoing harvests in Kenya and Tanzania and the expected duty-free importation of maize and rice from February 2023.
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The ongoing harvest of rice in Mwea which started in December 2022 and is expected to end in February 2023 will continue moderating the price of rice in the near term.
The analysis of retail prices between November 2022 and January 2023 revealed a sustained decline in the prices of essential agricultural commodities. In particular, the cost of maize, beans, rice, and some vegetables declined even as the price of cooking oil stabilized.
This was because of improved weather conditions that supported the vegetable season, the increased supply of maize from the ongoing harvest season, and the easing of supply chain constraints in the international markets.
The prices of spinach, potatoes, sugar, peas, cabbages, and milk declined due to increased production following the short rains.
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The survey drew respondents from wholesale, and retail markets, and farms in major towns across the country. These included: Nairobi, Nairobi Metropolitan area, Naivasha, Gilgil, Nakuru, Narok, Bomet, Nyandarua, Nyahururu, Kisumu, Mombasa, Kisii, Eldoret, Kitale, Meru, Mwea, Machakos, Isebania and Nyeri.
It is aimed at generating high-frequency agriculture sector data that provides additional information to support monetary policy decisions.