PHOTO | Courtesy

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) expects food prices to ease this month even as high input costs hinder agricultural production.

According to Agriculture Survey of January, the price fall will be occasioned by ongoing harvest in regions which received short rains last year and expected duty-free imports of maize, sugar a d rice.

“Supply of food is expected to improve due to ongoing harvests, improved weather, increased acreage and importation of key food items,” said CBK.

Increased food supply in the market has seen the rate of inflation fall to 9pc in January from 9.1pc in December.

Consumers have been battling elevated food prices for the better part of last year.

However, analysis by central bank on retail price indicates that prices of key agricultural  commodities have been on a decline since November last year.

“In particular, the price of maize, beans, rice and some vegetables declined even as price of cooling oil stabilised,” added CBK.

The downward trend in prices is also attributed to easing supply chain constraints on the international markets.

While the government has moved in to subsidize fertilizer for the next planting season, farmers are still facing challenges that CBK says cloud affect agricultural production this year.

According to a survey by the regulator, 24pc of farmers cited high cost of inputs as the major impediment to food production, 15pc said weather patterns, while 12pc said lack of knowledge in applying farm inputs such as herbicides and poor road network.

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