Bro­kers, levies push up food prices to the roof

Pres­i­dent’s ad­vi­sor on food se­cu­rity James Ny­oro says fish bro­ker­age is very high to an ex­tend that im­ports are cheaper

The Star (Kenya) - - News Business Financial Market - AGATHA NGOTHO @Agath­aN­gotho

The cost of ba­sic food items has sig­nif­i­cantly gone up due to in­creased cess charges in the 47 coun­ties and bro­ker­age fees, a new re­port sug­gested yes­ter­day.

The re­port by Kenya Mar­ket Trust in­di­cated that con­sumers are bear­ing the heavy bur­den of cess on farm pro­duce. The hard­est hit pro­duce in­clude maize, veg­eta­bles, milk and fish.

Ac­cord­ing to Chris Shimba from the Kenya Mar­ket Trust, it costs Sh150 to put a plate of ugali and sukuma wiki on the ta­ble. About 37 per cent of this goes into trans­port­ing the pro­duce from the farm to the ta­ble.

Simba put the to­tal cost on con­sum- ers for a typ­i­cal meal of ugali, sukuma wiki, beef, onions and toma­toes at Sh690. Out of this, he added, 34 per cent caters for trans­porta­tion cost, while18 per cent of the cost goes into bro­ker’s fee.

He added that to have the same meal but with fish will cost the con­sumer Sh710, with 27 per cent which trans­lates to about Sh150 be­ing taken by bro­kers. The cess re­port re­leased in Nairobi by KMT in­di­cated that bro­ker­age costs in fish mar­ket­ing are higher at 52 per cent than trans­port costs at 26 per cent.

Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta’s ad­vi­sor on food se­cu­rity James Ny­oro said fish bro­ker­age in the coun­try is very high to an ex­tent that im­port­ing is cheaper.

The re­port also showed that bro­ker­age and road blocks which both ac­count for 16 per cent of the cost are great con­trib­u­tors to the high live­stock dis­tri­bu­tion costs. Tra­por­ta­tion of live­stock ac­counts for 31 per cent, the re­port states.

“While trans­port is the high­est con­trib­u­tor to milk dis­tri­bu­tion costs at 26 per cent, stor­age cost is quite high at 22 per cent of the to­tal cost,” it adds.

While launch­ing the re­port, In­dus­try, Trade and Co-op­er­a­tives CS Adan Mo­hamed said the min­istry is work­ing with the 47 coun­ties to cre­ate an en­abling en­vi­ron­ment to pro­mote in­vest­ment and pro­duc­tiv­ity.

“Coun­ties have in­tro­duced cess charges for prod­ucts mov­ing be­tween coun­ties and re­fused to ac­cept per­mits is­sued by other coun­ties,” Kenya Mar­kets Trust chief ex­ec­u­tive Ka­mau Kuria said. “This has led to dou­ble tax­a­tion thus in­creased cost of trans­porta­tion lead­ing to high cost of prod­ucts.”

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