More than half of the 53 million Kenyans have been consuming inadequate food quantities following the outbreak of coronavirus, a new report has shown.
The report, Food Situation During the Covid-19 Pandemic by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), says while food was generally available, many people had their diet compromised mainly because of the rising costs.
The report that KNBS posted on its website on May 26 says the situation was worse during the first and second wave of coronavirus.
At least 15,840 people were sampled during the first wave and another 14,616 in the second wave. The first wave was between May 2 and May 9, 2020 while the second wave was experienced between May 30 and June 6 2020.
The study looked at availability of food, accessibility to markets, changes in food prices and generally, the food insecurity situation in the country.
“Even though food remained generally available in most parts of the country, the analysis of food insecurity experience revealed that at least 58 per cent of Kenyans were consuming inadequate quantities than they would normally consume, compromising their diet quality,” reads the report.
KNBS said the report was based the Covid-19 Socio-Economic Impact Survey it released in September last year.
The latest report shows most households (80 per cent) in most counties reported availability of widely purchased foodstuff only that the prices were higher.
Maize flour and rice prices increased by an average 18 and 16 per cent respectively.
During both the first and the second wave, Turkana County reported serious challenges with food supply.
The report shows the average price of tomatoes and onions increased in Mombasa and Kwale counties by 55 per cent each respectively. Kilifi County recorded the highest increase in the cost of vegetables, at 38 per cent, the report says.
“The average price of onions went up by 34 per cent while the average price of maize flour went up by 18 per cent during the survey period,” read the report.
The average price of maize flour increased in Nandi, Bungoma and Elgeyo Marakwet by 33, 32 and 30 per cent respectively.
Among the counties that were under lockdown, the average increase in maize flour price was highest in Kwale and Kilifi at 19 and 15 per cent respectively.
Mandera and Kwale reported a 98 and 86 per cent increase in food prices.
One in every four households in Mandera and Kilifi experienced some difficulties in accessing food markets.
“There was high food insecurity in a number of counties meaning they require enhanced efforts to cushion the population from hunger and the resultant nutritional effects of inadequate food,” KNBS says.
The agency said investments in early warning systems coupled with institutional and technical capacities should be enhanced to enable the country to respond to food insecurities during unpredicted calamities.