Cooking becoming extremely expensive affair as oil prices rock the sky

Kenyans are facing a harsh economic reality as manufacturers of cooking oil have warned of a further rise in the cost of cooking oil.

“To cushion Kenyans from the full brunt of the price hike, sector players have agreed and taken a raft of urgent measures, including selling-at-cost,” said Abdulghani Al-Wojih who is KAM edible oils sub-sector chair and General Manager, Golden Africa Kenya Limited.

“There is still much that can be done especially from the government, for instance, by scrapping the 3 per cent Railway Development Levy and Import Declaration Fee, reviewing the cost of fuel and electricity,” he noted in a statement.

Even though Covid-19 related factors had already caused a surge in the price of the 20-litre jerrycan from Sh2,200 to Sh4,500 in less than two years, Al-Wojih says the invasion of Ukraine by Russia saw the prices hit Sh5,100 in under a week. Currently the same is averaging Sh6,000 across brands.

This is set to have a ripple effect on the prices of basic commodities and food. For instance, the cost of the bread of which oil is a major ingredient as well as the cost of food in eateries and other ready-to-eat prepackaged foods. Kenyan families have had to adjust and adapt.

“This can be proven by the current significant rise in demand for solid fat since it is cheaper than liquid oils. Retailers who measure liquid oil have also become empathetic,” KAM said.

Retailers are now selling smaller portions such as 100ml and 150ml compared to the preferred 250ml by retailers. In the house, review of cooking methods and food choices are the new decisions that have to be made to reduce oil consumption and keep it within the house budget.

As countries strive to protect their populace, Indonesia, the world’s largest palm oil producer, enforced a 20 per cent retention of all planned oil exports to be sold domestically. This resulted in the world market plugging the supply deficit with Sunflower and Soybean oils, both of which were facing unique challenges.

On the other hand, Sunflower oil supplies have come to a sharp slump following the Russia-Ukraine crisis that shut down trade in the Black Sea – it accounts for 76 per cent of global sunflower oil exports.

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