Refugee influx worsens food shortage in northern Kenya

GMT 18:19 2015 Saturday ,06 June

Arab Today, arab today Refugee influx worsens food shortage in northern Kenya

Food shortage in northern Kenya
Kitale - XINHUA

The influx of South Sudanese fleeing their war ravaging country to Kakuma refugee camps in Turkana County has trigged high demand for food and basic commodities from Trans-Nzoia County.

Humanitarian organizations said that some 12,000 Sudanese refugees have arrived at Kakuma refugee camps. Huge demands for food supplies from neighboring counties have triggered price increase for food and basic commodities in Trans-Nzoia County.

Prices for food and commodities in the county have increased in the past weeks, forcing residents to dig deeper into their pockets to meet the cost.

The prices have either doubled or tripled in the recent past following demands for food supplies from as far as from Lokichoggio, Kakuma and Lodwar towns.

The price of Irish potatoes, beans and vegetables has gone up as business people flock in from Turkana and West Pokot counties.

A 90kg bag of Irish potatoes previous traded at 21 U.S. dollars has shot to 44 dollars, and the cost has locked several people out of chips business.

A crate of tomatoes, mostly sourced from Karatina, which sold at 27 dollars has increased to 41 dollars. The price of milk has remained constant at 0.6 dollars per litre despite heavy rains which has seen increased production.

Traders interviewed at Sonko Mujinga market in Kitale said there is fall in food supply from farms in the county while there are demands from outside the county.

"We have experienced scarce supply for food such as Irish potatoes and other food crops from our suppliers, and yet there is high demand," said local trader John Nyongesa.

Some business people in Kitale said there are huge food orders from Turkana County where hundreds of Sudanese are streaming in after fleeing the war in their country.

"For two weeks now, we have received good order for food and commodities from Lokichoggio and Kakuma towns, but our problem is low supply and we have been forced to source some from as far as Karatina in Nyeri," said John Kamua, a tomato trader at Kitale's main market.

Consumers complained of the high cost of food and commodities, which they said, has become unaffordable.

"Irish potato is my favorite food, but nowadays I cannot manage the price. We expected the cost of food to drop due to the rains, but this has not been the case," lamented local consumer Boniface Wanyoike

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