Inside Politics

Relief for Ugali lovers as maize flour prices drops below Sh100

Tuesday, August 31st, 2021 21:30 |
Ugali delicacy. Photo/Courtesy

FOOD: Maize flour prices have decreased to below Sh100 for a 2kg packet even as consumer purchasing power remains low owing to the effects of Covid-19 pandemic.

A spot check in the local supermarkets revealed that major maize flour brands are retaining between Sh90 and Sh100 compared to more than Sh100 three weeks ago.

While a 90kg bag in most urban centres retails at between Sh2,400 and Sh2,800 with predictions indicating the prices are likely to decrease with harvests having started in some regions and main crop expected as from mid-October. 

Value chains Business Hub spoke to said there is sufficient maize in the local market and prices as well have been low thus translating to drop in flour prices.

Cereal Growers Association (CGA) chief executive Anthony Kioko said the decreased price of maize flour in the local market is a reflection of low grain prices for the last eight months. 

“We haven’t experienced increased price of grain since January this year. This has been necessitated by availability of grain from local produce and imports from the neighbouring countries,” he said on phone. 

Cost of grain, he added, has been low, for example, currently a 90kg bag is retailing at between Sh2400 and Sh2600 in most urban markets and mainly Nairobi. 

“Further harvest has started in South Rift Valley and at the end of October harvest from the main crop is expected to start,” said Kioko. 

Millers say there is adequate maize in the country following good harvest and the continued import flows from the region mainly Tanzania and Uganda. National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) has more than 700,000 bags of maize it its stores.

Last week, NCPB managing director Joseph Kimote said since the beginning of year, the agency has managed to buy 712,000 bags of maize from farmers at Sh2,500 per bag in depots across the country.

Conventional stores

“The maize is stored in the conventional stores and also in the silos. This maize is clean and available for sale to any miller and other value chains. We tested all the maize on level of microorganisms as all our depots have aflatoxin testing kits,” he said.

United Grain Millers Association (UGMA) chairman Ken Nyaga said that maize supplies currently in the market have high moisture which is increasing their cost of production and the same extends to the consumers.

“Level of aflatoxin in maize in some counties is very high and discourages so many millers in their milling business. Currently the cost of a 90kg bag of white maize stands at between Sh2,600 and Sh2,800. While maize suspected to have aflatoxin is said to sell for Sh2,200,” he added.   

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