Increasing food prices in Kenya have continued to put households under pressure and raise the cost of living, with new data indicating that inflation climbed to 9.2 per cent in February, as some food costs went up to 11 percent more than they did in January.
This is a reverse trend. It is coming after inflation slowed for three consecutive months to hit 9 per cent in January, after accelerating through 2022, seeing households struggle with a high cost of living.
On Tuesday, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) Consumer Price Index (CPI) showed that in February, food commodities contributed greatly to the high inflation, reflecting the pain Kenyans are enduring.
The KNBS CPI showed cabbages, carrots and sukuma wiki (kales) were among food items whose prices rose by highest rates.
The three commodities’ prices rose by over 11 per cent within just a month.
“Tomato prices also increased by 7.8 percent compared to January while the prices of fresh unpacked milk increased by 2 per cent,” KNBS stated.
Households also felt pain refilling their cooking gas, whose price increased by 4.7 percent in February compared to January, even as electricity prices fell by between 2.9 and 3.7 percent on different user bands.
The KNBS also reported that wheat and maize flour prices fell by 2.4 percent and 2.5 percent respectively during the month of February, as the price of sugar came down by 3.2 percent.
Third highest rate
The 9.2 percent inflation rate becomes the third highest rate recorded since last year, when Kenyans started feeling the heat of high commodity prices; and is a return to the red zone.
The inflation had eased from 9.1 percent in December 2022 to 9 percent in January 2023, after highs of 9.5 per cent in November and 9.6 per cent in October- the highest rate in more than five years.
The inflation rate rose beyond Central Bank of Kenya’s guided upper limit of 7.5 percent mid-2022 and has remained up, triggering the bank’s move to raise lending rates as a control measure.