Prices of black beans in Kianjai Market, Meru County, has continued to rise as the region faces a shortage in terms of supply.
Kianjai is one of the core markets dealing with cereals in the County due to its strategic position to farms where such products are produced.
Cereal traders from the market have complained of the high prices of black beans which they say is eating into their profit margins.
“Black beans is one of the loved food in our hotels and we can’t afford to disappoint our daily customers as this will also paralyse their operations. We are therefore forced to increase the prices which have also made us lose some of our customers,” said Ms Mary Kairu, a trader at the market.
Ms Kairu further told KNA that over the past two months, the black bean prices have been increasing unexpectedly.
“Currently we are buying a 90kg black beans sack at Sh15,000 up from Sh11,500 less than two months ago,” she said adding that the prices have made many seek alternatives which on the other hand means they will have to look for new customers.
She said the shortage in supply has been a result of scarce rains in the previous seasons where farmers made meagre harvest.
“Majority of black beans farmers harvested less than two sacks and this cannot satisfy the huge market even in Meru County alone,” said Ms Kairu.
Ms Jane Makena said apart from the low rainfall effects, black bean farmers have also faced the challenge of pests and diseases affecting the crops which have also compromised the yields.
“The diseases have also affected the quality of the black beans and as a result majority of the customers are very choosy which also affects our sales,” said Ms Makena.
The traders are calling on the government through the Ministry of Agriculture to come up with proper planting seeds that are free from pests and diseases and can do well even with little rains.
By Dickson Mwiti and Brenda Wanja