Unga and sugar prices up as Kenyans suffer high cost of living

Cheapest unga in local supermarkets is Ajab maize meal brand retailing at Sh194


• A two-kg packet of maize flour is selling at between Sh194 to Sh215. 

• A two-kilo packet of sugar has gone up from Sh200 and it is now retailing at Sh420.

Sugar prices go up.
Image: Agatha Ngotho

Kenyans will continue to dig deeper into their pockets as prices of food continue to go up.

This is even as President William Ruto assured that his government is working towards reducing the cost of living.

During his Sunday televised interview, the President said the government is undertaking various interventions to ensure an increase in food supply.

“To sort out the issue of the high cost of living, the government is increasing production by working with farmers to achieve this. We are supporting farmers with fertiliser and seeds and an additional 200,000 acres of land have been put into production,” he said.

On maize importation, Ruto said the country has so far imported 250,000 metric tons of maize.

“We have also increased supply. We have imported close to 250,000 tons of maize, 75,000 tons of rice, 30,000-40,000 tons of beans and about 100,000 tons of cooking oil. In the short term, we will have to increase supply through importation and in the long term, we will increase supply through production,” Ruto said.

The President told Kenyans said the only sure way to reduce the cost of living and food is through production.

A spot check by the Star showed that maize meal prices have remained at a high of Sh190-Sh230 per 2kg packet.

The cheapest unga in the local supermarkets is Ajab maize meal brand which is retailing at Sh194 but the shelves for the brand were empty by the time the Star visited.

Other maize meal brands are selling at Sh204 to as high as Sh262 for some of the premium brands.

At Quickmart supermarket, unga was retaining at between 198 for the Mama brand, Joggo at Sh205, Ndovu at Sh210, Papo Halo brand at Sh215 while the premium brands of Raha, Amaize and Hostess are retailing at Sh256, SH250 and Sh245 respectively.

On the other hand, sugar prices have doubled since the beginning of the month.

A two-kilo packet of sugar that was in the first week selling at an average of Sh200 is now retailing at Sh420 for a 2kg packet.

Most customers are now preferring to buy a kilo of sugar rather than the common 2kg packet due to the high cost.

A spot check done by the Star on May 16, showed that the cheapest brand of sugar in the local supermarket is selling at Sh189 per one kilo packet.

At the Naivas supermarket, a kilo of Mara white brand sugar is selling at Sh189, Naivas branded white sugar is selling at Sh350 per 2kg packet but a customer is limited to buy a maximum of two packets.

At Quickmart supermarket, brown Quickmart branded sugar is retailing at Sh365 per two-kilo, Kabras is selling at Sh420 for a two-kilo packet while one kilo packet of Mumias sugar is selling at Sh185.

Governors from sugar cane-growing counties want the report by the sugar task force to be reviewed and implemented.

While meeting with Agriculture CS Mithika Linturi at Kilimo House, the governors said it is unnecessary to reinvent the wheel on matters of sugar since the industry continues to fail.

Governors Kenneth Lusaka of Bungoma, Paul Otuoma of Busia, Ochilo Ayacko of Migori, Stephen Sang of Nandi, Fernandez Barasa of Kakamega and Kisumu's Anyang' Nyong'o said there is no need to start afresh.

“Let's look at the task force report, review where necessary and implement it," they said, urging the state to invest in the industry as it had with coffee and tea.

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