Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga has dismissed President William Ruto’s economic interventions over the rising cost of living in the country.
While addressing the Press on Friday, September 15, Raila explained that Ruto’s intervention in the agricultural sector is one of the most ambiguous, and will not lead to any solution to the rising cost of living.
The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Party Leader asked Kenyans to prepare for rising costs of unga (maize flour) despite a projected bumper harvest.
“As long as the government has not resolved the price of food and fuel, the cost of living will not come down. No amount of fertilizer will lower the cost of food as long as the cost of fuel remains unchecked,” Raila claimed.
Photo of maize flour on supermarket shelf on Thursday May 18, 2023
According to Raila, the Kenya Kwanza administration should have lowered the cost of fuel which is largely used by farmers to power their tractors, harvesters, and other machinery.
He explained that when fuel prices go up, so do the costs of production. This can make it more difficult for farmers to make a profit, and they may be forced to pass on the higher costs to consumers in the form of higher prices for agricultural products.
The former Prime Minister noted that farmers may be forced to reduce the amount of land they cultivate or the number of crops they plant, hence leading to lower yields, which can also drive up prices.
“Diesel is one of the highest costs in farming. Even if you give the citizen a bag of fertilizer but make it impossible for her or him to plough an acre of land, you have not solved the problem,” Raila warned.
He noted that even transportation of food products, especially, maize from farms to market places will be higher, and will make it more expensive for consumers to buy agricultural products.
Raila also observed that the newly announced fuel prices will most likely contribute to inflation, which is a general increase in prices. This can make it more expensive for everyone to buy food, including imported agricultural products.
“With the shilling tanking, the grains – like maize, wheat and rice that we import have increased 25 per cent.
“As the economy has suffered, another grand betrayal of the dreams and aspirations of our country has unfolded silently in other sectors,” Raila claimed.
The ODM Party Leader noted that maize is a staple food and a major agricultural product in the country.
He stated that high cost of fuel is a major challenge for maize farmers, and it is one of the factors that has contributed to the recent rise in maize prices.
President William Ruto enjoys a meal with supporters during Mariga’s thanksgiving party at Bomas of Kenya in 2019.