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Publication | 2023

Poverty impacts of food price increases in Kenya

Kenya is potentially very vulnerable to sharp increases in the prices of key staple grains such as maize and wheat, both because these are important in diets and because Kenya depends on im ports of these products. A first step in understanding the impacts of changes in the prices of these products is to examine developments in their prices on world markets. After a long period of rela tively stable prices on world markets, the prices of key food staples began to rise from around the beginning of 2020. This period of price increases, spanning the COVID-19 pandemic and then the price shocks following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine raised serious concerns about the welfare of poor people in countries such as Kenya. Figure 1 shows the movements in the prices of four key grain staples—maize, rice, sorghum and wheat—from the beginning of 2020.