Pineapples from Uganda flood Nairobi city streets

Prices of the fruit fell to an all-time low of Ksh. 20 from Ksh. 80 each

By The Weekly Vision

A fruit festival of sorts has gripped Nairobi and its suburbs as truckloads of pineapples from Uganda flood city streets. The “sweet” pineapples have given Nairobi hard-pressed residents unable to afford proper meals a welcome relief.

The hungry and thirsty city residents have gobbled up the delicious fruits selling at only Ksh. 20 apiece, a record low unprecedented in recent times. Unbelieving residents have stood patiently at handcarts selling the fruit as a whole leaving other salad vendors a disappointed lot. Salad vendors often sell a small dish at Ksh. 50 they are now unable to compete.

And Thika, Muranga, and Embu pineapple farmers have cried foul saying the imported fruit has pushed down prices causing them to suffer huge losses. The pineapples follow a major harvest of the fruit in the border trading towns of Naluwerere, Namayemba, and Dudi in Uganda. A spot check by The Weekly Vision established that in Uganda, pineapple sells at an average Ksh. 5 or Ush. 150 which is deemed a “throwaway” price. Pineapples have often been selling at high prices in Nairobi which has also seen massive imports of watermelon from Tanzania.

At Wakulima and Muthurwa, our writer found cartloads of pineapples selling like hot cake. One hawker “happy’ with how the business was good, said that his sister “is married in Uganda” and that she had brought in tonnes of pineapples that he was busy selling.

Many low to middle-income Kenyans have borne the brunt of a harsh economy battered by galloping inflation and paralysing Covid restrictions. This has pushed the cost of living in East Africa’s largest economy to astronomical heights.

More than 30 per cent of wage earners in Nairobi according to recent data from the Central Bureau of Statistics, are homeless and face imminent starvation. Many have been kicked out of houses after failing to pay rent on time, and have been pushed into poverty huddling in congested slums. Others have simply opted to live and sleep in the cold mean streets of Nairobi.

It is against these economic hardships that the Uganda “pineapple festival” is being viewed as a “God sent” gift like manna from Heaven.

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