Some Kenyans Turn to Clay as Cement Prices Double


The sudden rice in the prices of cement and steel has shocked many Kenyans who are looking to build and own homes.

A bag of cement cost Ksh 550 in Nairobi in January – but now the same bag goes for Ksh 710 just two months later.

Those living in the villages; in the countryside have had to pay nearly Ksh 1000 per bag of cement.

“We have been forced to increase our prices because of high taxation, the cost of electricity is high, the fuel price is high, and importation of raw materials like concrete admixtures has also risen. Everything is just rising,” a representative of the Kenya Federation of Master Builders told Nation.

The high prices of cement has also come as a result of shortage of the commodity in various stores.

Most wholesalers and hardware operators told that the don’t have the commodity in stock.

“I guess I will go back to using mad to finish my house in the village. Prices of cement are beyond me at this time,” Timothy Ojanga told Mwanahabari.

Timothy has been constructing a three-bedroom house using red bricks – and has been using cement to join the bricks together – but not anymore.

“Properly moulded clay will do just fine especially in walling. I had intended to cement the floor, but now I will use tiles,” he said.

Timothy is not alone.

James had intended to make bricks using cement – but now he says he will use the traditional red bricks to help reduce costs.

While Timothy and James have a plan – the same cannot be said about Peterson Mwangi who is putting up a four storey building in Nairobi.

“I will have to halt the construction until I get some more money, or at least after prices go down,” he said.

Meanwhile, prices of steel bars have also hit the roof.

Prices in April 2022

D8 – Sh780; D10 – Sh1,150; D12 – Sh1,650; D16 – Sh2,750; and D20 – Sh4,850.

Prices in January 2022

D8 – Sh450; D10 – Sh600; D12 – Sh900; D16 – Sh1050; and D20 – Sh2500.


  1. Egyptians used a cement-like material to make the Great Pyramid in 2600 B.C.
  2. Cement is a caustic. It can burn skin and eyes, just like acid.
  3. The first modern cement was created in 1824 by Joseph Aspdin, a British bricklayer and builder, inside his kitchen



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