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Mombasa most reliant on foodstuff purchases

Households in Mombasa are the most dependent on purchased foodstuffs, according to a survey by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), signalling financial strain on residents.

Mombasa had the highest share of food consumption from purchases at 88.9 per cent, the study said, while West Pokot had the least share at 44 per cent.

Mombasa’s dependence on purchased food is way above the national average. Nationally, food consumed from purchases was the main source for households accounting for 68.3 per cent of total food eaten.

The food consists of cereals and bread, roots and tubers, poultry (chicken), meat, fish and seafood. It further consists of dairy products and eggs, vegetable oil and animal fats, fruits, vegetables, pulses, sugar, non-alcoholic beverages, alcoholic beverages, food eaten in restaurants and canteens, spices and condiments.

Mombasa’s high dependence is linked to the fact that the coastal county reported the least share (0.4 per cent) of consumption from own-production followed by Nairobi City (1.6 per cent), the KNBS survey shows.

This has huge financial implications for households in Mombasa because they have to cover for the low own-food production through purchases.

Mombasa reported a mean monthly food-item expenditure of Sh5,459 per adult against a national average of Sh4,239, according to the data.

Nairobi residents spent the highest on food at average Sh6,153 per adult per month — underlining the strain facing families in urban counties where minimal farming takes place. “Similarly, a significant share (57.4 per cent) of food consumption in the rural areas was from purchases,” the KNBS said.

Self-produced food, however, brought some relief for households in rural areas.

Nationally, rural areas reported the highest share (27.7 per cent) of food consumption from own production.

“Households in the rural and peri-urban spend more than 60 per cent of their income on food, which is much higher than the 48.8 per cent spent on food by those in core-urban areas,” said the KNBS.

Among the counties, Samburu residents reported the highest portion of income spent on food at 72.9 per cent while those in Nairobi had the least at 44.8 per cent.

Nationally, three sources accounted for three-quarters of all food purchases, namely general shops (27.9 per cent), open markets (26.6 per cent) and kiosks (22 per cent).

“Most of the purchases in the arid counties were sourced from kiosks with Wajir accounting for the highest share (73.6 per cent), followed by Turkana (57.1 per cent) and Mandera (52.6 per cent),” KNBS added.

Nationally, general shops (27.2 per cent) and specialised shops (21.9 per cent) were preferred outlets, jointly accounting for nearly half of all food purchases made.

The majority of rural households (22 per cent) purchased their food items from open markets compared to their core-urban households (13.8 per cent).

At the county level, Turkana recorded the highest share of purchases from specialised shops (32.3 per cent), while Wajir (4.8 per cent) recorded the lowest share.

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