The cost of a meal just got dearer, according to the latest inflation data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.

The cost of maize flour, sukuma wiki and cabbages, milk and kerosene has risen sharply, driving up the cost of living and putting a strain on the budgets of the poor and middle class families.

Inflation is the rate at which the prices of goods and services rise over time, resulting in money losing value. That means that with inflation increase, Kenyans spent more money to buy less goods in February compared to January.

The cost of food and non-alcoholic drinks has increased by 45 per cent since February 2013, with 17 per cent of the rise happening between February 2016 and last month.

With the exception of the rich, many Kenyans are struggling to keep hunger at bay as food prices continue to rise faster than the average and minimum wages, according to investigations by the Nation Newsplex team.

The analysis shows that a worker who earns the average wage has to work for 24 minutes to afford a 2kg packet of maize flour, which costs about Sh127.

In the same vein, an individual who earns the average minimum wage has to work for at least two hours and 49 minutes to buy the same packet of unga.

The cost of food and non-alcoholic drinks has increased by 45 per cent since February 2013, with 17 per cent of the rise happening between February 2016 and last month.

The average and minimum earnings have grown at a slower rate over the same period.

The average monthly income rose by 17 per cent from Sh42,886 in 2013 to Sh50,355 in 2015 while the minimum wage grew by 12 per cent, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.

In Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa, average minimum earnings increased from Sh15,357 to Sh17,200 during the same period while in county headquarters and towns within Nairobi’s environs it rose from Sh14,267 to Sh15,980.

In the four years, food prices rose almost more than twice the increase in average earnings and more than thrice the increase in minimum wages.

In the past year, sukuma wiki sold for an average price of Sh37 a kilo in February 2016. Last month, a kilo cost Sh54.

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