Food prices have shot up in Kilifi County amidst complaints by residents of losing their livelihoods following the blockade of informal trade and work places by the containment measures meant to combat COVID-19 pandemic.
The cost of a two-kilogram packet of unga has been raised from the previous Sh125 to Sh140 in Kilifi town while the same packet is sold at Sh150 in the remote parts of Ganze, Kaloleni and Magarini Sub Counties.
A 20-kilogram bag of Pakistani rice which before sold at Sh1,650 has now been raised to Sh2,000 while a two-kilogram packet of wheat flour has gone up by twenty shillings to retail at Sh160 up from Sh140 in the remote parts of the County respectively.
Residents in the affected areas said their purchasing power has been eroded to the extent of not being able to afford one meal a day for their families as the cost of living continues to rise.
“We have heard there is relief food being supplied by the County government but that has not come to us and we have to find means of our own to survive,” said Charo Mwagandi of Nzovuni village in Ganze Sub County.
He said he has nowhere to take his livestock for sale after the closure of Bamba and Mariakani livestock markets adding that preparation of his land during the long rains will be difficult without money to hire a tractor or oxen to plough while buying inputs will be impossible noting that farmers rely on sale of their livestock for money to meet such needs.
“This is the worst experience I have had in my life even though some unusual diseases like cancer and HIV-AIDS came along. Unless this menace comes to an end soon, people might starve to death,” he said.
A resident in Mazia chenda village in Kaloleni Sub County Mr. Charo Wanje said his family has been forced to blend cassava with maize for food claiming that the high cost of maize meal has forced them to adopt the blending for their survival.
“It will be very difficult for us to prepare our farms for the long rain season due to lack of income. My three children who were operating food kiosks in Kaloleni were forced to come back home after their premises were closed,” he said.
For the past one month, activities in the County have been at a standstill not only in urban centres alone but also in the rural areas as security agencies stepped in to control movement of people in the fight to combat COVID-19 virus pandemic that has hit the world.
By Harrison Yeri