Ever smaller and smaller: how household budgets deal with rising prices and inflation

By | December 9, 2011

It is only an eighth of a kilogramme packet of sugar, yet many Kenyans can barely afford it. This particular size of sugar has many references among residents of Nyanza Province, such as kobole, Kadogo and Sukari ndogo.
In Kisian Village, Kisumu County, the packet is retailing at Sh28, the epitome of the ‘Kadogo economy’ (economy of little items). Commodities are repackaged into minute sizes or manufacturers package them into the smallest quantities possible, to ensure affordability.
In Kakamega many people have adopted various survival tactics to cope with rising inflation. Most residents admitted that their incomes have remained constant over the years even as the cost of living rises.

Jane Reuben makes between Sh200 – Sh300 profit daily from selling omena. Omena is an alternative source of protein for most residents.

Reuben said she buys the half kilogramme tin of omena at Sh50 since she cannot afford meat. “Back in the days, I would buy the two kilogramme tin and keep it in the house. I would occasionally buy goat meat or pork,” he noted. A two-kilogramme tin of omena costs about Sh200.

Reuben then buys kales (Sh50), paraffin (Sh10), cooking fat (Sh10), tealeaves (Sh10) and maize flour (Sh70 – 1kilogramme). After her shopping, Reuben is left with Sh100, which she saves for house rent. Her monthly rent is Sh3,000.

She said that most of the times she skips lunch as having three meals a day is impossible. “If I have to eat lunch, it is usually githeri for about Sh30,” she said. ~ Kenyans turn to ‘kadogo’ shopping, The Standard, Oct 2011

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