Unga Prices to Go Up, Kenyans Warned
Kenyans will have to dig deeper into their packets to be able to afford a packet of Maize flour.
Millers issued a warning of an impending maize crisis in the country occasioned by internal and external factors.
The millers forecast that unless the government intervenes, there will be an acute shortage of maize flour by March 2023.
A file photo of maize flour on display at a supermarket in Nairobi.
It emerged that millers are reluctant to import the commodity due to rising global prices, creating a domestic shortage.
“A 90-kilogram bag of imported non-genetically modified (GMO) maize costs Ksh6,000 meaning if we import, it will significantly raise the maize flour prices making it unaffordable to many Kenyans,” the millers told Nation.
Apart from the miller’s reluctance to import, the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) which acts as the nation’s reservoir is running empty.
Currently, NCPB according to the Ministry of Agriculture has a stock of only six million bags of maize which can only sustain the country for a month.
The NCPB also has no emergency stock due to the failure to buy maize in the 2022/2023 season.
NCPB could not purchase the maize because many farmers rushed to sell their produce to traders and millers as they feared the prices would drop.
This resulted from President William Ruto’s government’s directive that Kenya was to import 10 million bags of maize.
The 10 million bags will take long to arrive according to the millers and the government has been urged to look for alternative measures to cushion the consumer from higher prices.
Former President Uhuru Kenyatta introduced a subsidy program to protect the consumer but it was scraped by Ruto who argued it was harming the economy.
“The former administration was using Ksh8 billion in two months to subsidize maize flour and Ksh15 billion every month to subsidize fuel.
“I removed the maize subsidy because we have to put austerity measures to stop the ballooning of our foreign debt,” the President stated on February 13 during the inspection of the Bondeni Affordable Housing Project in Nakuru County.
At the moment, a 2-kg packet of maize flour is retailing at Ksh180 in most parts of the country.
President William Ruto speaking during the inspection of the Bondeni Affordable Housing Project in Nakuru County on February 13, 2023.