Global supply shocks have increased the prices of Kenya’s critical staples, including rice, wheat, maize, sugar and onions, fomenting a new food crisis in the country.

Protectionist decisions in India and Eastern Europe to lock stocks of food within their borders are likely to disrupt the supply of rice and wheat into Kenya, even as poor weather hinders the supply of onions from neighbouring Tanzania.

Wheat prices are also likely to come under pressure after Russia, which is at war with Ukraine, recently pulled out of an agreement which allowed the export of Ukrainian agricultural goods via a safe channel through the Black Sea, putting Africa’s food security at risk.

Read: Russia warns of Black Sea risks after grain deal exitRussia also destroyed critical storage infrastructure in Ukraine in a bomb attack, triggering supply disruption fears, which is driving up prices.

The latest supply shocks are aggravating the prevailing food crisis related to the Ukrainian war and the lingering effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, which have increased the prices of cooking oil, maize and wheat products.

Analysts fear that the new crisis is likely to heighten food scarcity, rolling back some of the gains the country recently made.

Consumer prices in July rose by 7.3 percent, the lowest since May last year.

Read: FAO: World food prices rise first time in a yearThis even as President William Ruto on Wednesday spoke of the gains the country had made in food production since his administration launched a fertiliser subsidy programme aimed at boosting yields of staple crops.“Because arable land in Kenya is limited and our population has increased over the years, the only way to increase agricultural productivity is through the use of high-quality inputs and, in particular, fertiliser which significantly increases crop yields in the same area of land,” said Dr Ruto.

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