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Cereal millers and AFA differ over claims of maize shortage

By Nicholas Waitathu
Friday, April 23rd, 2021 00:00 | 2 mins read
Maize flour. Photo/Courtesy

Cereal millers have warned the price of maize flour is likely to increase due a shortage arising from hoarding by farmers and reduced imports from Uganda and Tanzania.

United Grain Millers Association (UGMA) chair Ken Nyaga said farmers are hoarding maize thus contributing to increase in flour prices.  

However, the government has insisted there is enough maize in the local market, enough to feed the population up to the end of next month.

Agriculture and Food authority (AFA) Acting Director General Kello Harsama said allayed fears over alleged shortage of maize in the country, saying projections up to the end of May 2021 indicate a surplus of 11,807,681 90kg bags, with the price of maize expected to remain stable.

Early this week a 90-kilo bag of white maize retailed at between Sh2,900 and ShSh3,000 compared to between Sh2,600 and Sh2,700 three weeks ago.

While a bale of maize flour ranged between Sh1,100 and Sh1250 as at end of last week.

Maize flour brands

Currently, a 2kg packet of a number of maize flour brands retail at between Sh91 and Sh110 with millers warning the price might increase in the coming months. 

Nyaga warned that pricing changes are likely to be dictated by two factors, namely low availability of stocks and high demand of the commodity.

“There is little maize in the market and in some segments the commodity has high levels of aflatoxins, for example, in Eastern region and Nanyuki in Laikipia County,” he added.

But even as the millers and traders complain of low maize stocks in the market, the government said that none of the players interested in importing maize from the region is yet to comply with the new outlined conditions.

Harsama said ban on maize importation from Uganda and Tanzania and other region segments is still on. 

“The government will not compromise on food safety standards as part of protecting the population,” he said in a phone interview.

Nicholas Waitathu

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