Consumers will have to dig deeper into their pockets to enjoy their favourite chapati this Christmas following a sharp increase in the price of wheat flour.
This is attributed to a 32 percent increase in the price of wheat in the international market since January.
A two-kilogramme packet of flour is now retailing at an average of Sh135, the highest price recorded in the last one-and-a-half years.
Wheat flour is a staple of many Kenyan homes over the Christmas period.
The price of a tonne of wheat has gone up from $525 in July to $575 in December, impacting on local prices as Kenya, which is a wheat deficit country, relies on imports to close the domestic supply gap.
The highest price of wheat was recorded this year in October at $625 for a tonne.
That price has informed the current high flour prices as millers make shipment orders three months in advance.
The rising cost of wheat flour adds to an already expensive shopping basket for consumers as prices of other basic items such as milk and sugar have gone up.
For instance, a 500 millilitre packet of milk has risen from Sh50 previously to Sh55 with processors justifying the increase on shortage of the commodity in the market.
The rising cost is likely to spark a new increase in cost of living, with inflation (cost of living measure) having jumped to a six-month high of 5.33 per cent in November, largely driven by increased transport, electricity and food prices.
Millers now want the government to stop fixing the price of wheat and instead subsidise farmers through inputs and let the buying price be determined by the market forces.
The government has been fixing the cost at which millers buy wheat, with processors arguing that the move has a negative impact on consumer price.
It is projected that farmers will harvest three million bags, which is a slight improvement compared to last year.
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