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Better days ahead: Kenyans optimistic of manageable 2023 after unga, rice price announcement

The Kenya Kwanza administration promised to reduce the price of to trade below Sh100 in the first 100 days of office, a pledge the administration is yet to honour.

Better days ahead: Kenyans optimistic of a manageable 2023 after unga & rice prices announcement

Kenyans have expressed mixed reactions after Agriculture CS Mithika Linturi on Tuesday announced that the cost of maize and rice will reduce come February, just a few weeks from now.

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"We are going to import maize and rice and we are not doing it because we want. The projections are so bad that if we don't do it our people will die of lack of food. By the end of February, the price of Unga and rice will have come down," Linturi said while speaking to the press on January 3, 2023.

For most Kenyans, this is good news even though February is still some months away. Joan Achieng', a mother of two residing in Mathare North is optimistic that this is the beginning of good things in store for Kenya in 2023.

“Niko na furaha kuskia serikali iko na plan ya kupunguza bei ya unga na mchele. Hiyo inaonyesha atleast inatukumbuka sisi wananchi na watafanya juu chini ili maisha isikuwe ngumu in 2023.

"(I'm happy to hear the government has a plan to reduce the cost of unga. This is an indication that the government is thinking of its citizens and is working hard to reduce the cost of living in 2023," she said.

In May 2022, the cost of essential commodities rose by 7.1 percent, a level last witnessed in February 2020. The rates had been on an upward trend until November 2022 when they slightly eased.

Data by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows that Kenya's inflation rate for November stood at 9.5 percent from 9.6 percent recorded in the previous month.

KNBS reported that the cost of commodities under food and non-alcoholic beverages still went up by a whopping 15.4 percent.

Some of the major commodities that have cost Kenyans include the staple maize flour and rice which are currently selling at over Sh200 per kilogram.

The Kenya Kwanza administration promised to reduce the price of to trade below Sh100 in the first 100 days of office, a pledge the administration is yet to honour.

Escalating unga prices and other commodities have been attributed to the absence of a subsidy and the widespread drought subjecting thousands of Kenyans to hunger.

As such, the government has encouraged Kenyans to embrace farming to increase local production to help in fighting the drought and hunger.

Linturi advised the people to use the little and they have to plant to give them an easy time with raising their families

“We need to grow more food for our people and that’s why I am encouraging you that whatever piece of land, however small, plant something,” he stated. “The money you make you will not use to buy onions or maize because you will be taking it from your piece of land and you will be able to use the money to raise your family.”

In late November 2022, CS Linturi revealed that the ministry had prepared a Cabinet memorandum seeking authorization to import between 900,000 tones or 10 million bags of maize to bridge the deficit gap.

The importation window will last for three months, beginning February 1, 2023, until April 31, 2023, according to the ministry.

Kenya imports up to 6 million bags of maize annually. The ministry predicted that the country will have up to 14.8 million surplus produce by the end of January 2023, once the long rains crops are harvested.

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