Traders hike potato prices as shortage looms

A serious shortage of potatoes, a popular dish in many Kenyan homes is looming at in Laikipia County.

Dealers of the commodity have hiked prices by about 38 per cent per a 50 kg bag.

The 50kg package is now going for Sh. 4,000 from the previous Sh. 1,500.

They attributed the shortage to the heavy rains that pounded potato growing areas destroying the crop in the early stages.

A potato vendor in the market, Ms Ann Njeri said that the commodity that had been dominating Nyahururu market has now subsided and its supply is now scarce in the farms.

We have always sourced potatoes from the neighbouring county of Nyandarua but the commodity is unavailable as the farmers are complaining of low yields in this season, said Njeri.

The vendor added that the shortage had forced them to up the price as it is now hard for them to acquire the commodity.

A potato farmer in the rich potato growing region of Boiman, Nyandarua County, Agnes Mukami attributed the lack of the tuber crop to harsh weather conditions and heavy rains that have been experienced in the country.

The farmer said the cold spell had greatly affected the quality of potatoes and other crop in the area.

Extreme cold conditions have damaged the potato vines with frostbite hence lowering productivity of the tuber crop, explained the farmer.

Ms Mukami added that farmers have to dig deeper in their pockets during the rainy season to control diseases affecting the crop.

We spend heavily on chemicals to control diseases during the rainy season as we are forced to spray herbicides once in every week, complained the farmer.

The rains have also seen prices of other crops like peas shoot up from the previous Shs. 50 to Shs. 80 per kg in the last three months.

Source: Kenya News Agency