Kenya is experiencing a mixture of cost-push and demand-pull inflation compounded by severe drought that has ravaged some parts of the country.
Although the rains have started pounding some parts of the country, inflation still remains high and this has shrunk the buying power of most Kenyans especially those in the low-income bracket.
Checks across the country show prices of virtually all basic commodities have skyrocketed, leading to financial pressure on most families. The cost of maize flour, has, however, come down following government intervention to cushion the consumer, but that of milk, sugar, tomatoes is still prohibitive.
When food suddenly costs more, those who can least afford it get hit hardest because their purchasing power doesn’t match the high cost of basic commodities.
PD Wikendi sought the advice of Victor Amadala, a consultant at Dhahabu Kenya, on alternative foods that can cushion you from the jaws of inflation.
You are likely to get enough portions of sweet potatoes at Gikomba or other informal markets for a fraction of what you pay for rice or maize flour to cater for families, keeping in mind that sweet potatoes are more nutritious compared to unga. This can be consumed during breakfast and lunch for your family.
“Unlike ugali, sweet potatoes are a source of four essential micro nutrients: vitamin C, thiamin, potassium and manganese, which between them have a whole range of properties that our bodies need to keep us ticking over,” says Amadala.
Kenyans need to borrow a leaf from their Ugandan counterparts who enjoy mushed banana (matoke), or sometimes boiled or fried as their staple food.
With the Kisii and other regions saturated with bananas, a shift from ugali to the former is well long overdue. Amadala says a family of four is likely to get at least 20 pieces of green bananas for only Sh100 which can be mixed with either sweet or Irish potatoes.
Once a luxurious, chapati has since been overtaken by ugali. A spot check in various food stores in Nairobi shows that wheat flour is now retailing at Sh125, Sh25 less that of maize flour.
You could embrace chapati with no regrets. A kilo of wheat flour which retails at Sh60 can produce up to 16 chapatis, enough to sustain a family of four. They just need a quarter litre of cooking fat which retails at Sh35 and perhaps one bunch of cabbage that retails for Sh25.
Instead of spending money on a packet of maize flour and vegetables, a family of four can purchase a kilo of maize and a kilo of beans to boil enough githeri to cater for the family.