Maize shortage looms ah**d of festivities as farm**s export c*mmodity

Thursday, December 23rd, 2021 02:00 | By
Maize farming. Photo/Courtesy

Millers have warned of high maize flour prices during the Christmas and New Year festivities owing to low availability of local stocks of maize as traders export to regional markets and farmers hoard the commodity.

Grain basket counties fear that the market might run out of the commodity as farmers and traders ship the commodity to the neighbouring countries despite increase in prices locally for the last one month.

Maize prices, according to the Ministry of Agriculture have increased by more than 10 per cent from Sh2, 700 to Sh3, 000 for a 90 kilogramme bag.

But local millers blame the shortage on farmers hoarding maize in anticipation of high prices, a situation they warn will force households to dig  deeper into their pockets to buy unga during Christmas and New Year festivities. 

United Grain Millers Association (UGMA) chairman Ken Nyagah told Business Hub that the current shortage has led to increased price of maize flour being sold in the local supermarket.

Currently, various maize flour brands are retailing at between Sh100 and Sh110 for a 2kg packet.

Ministry of Agriculture has already warned of a reduction of maize following the long dry spell and inadequate rainfall in the current season.

Currently, farmers in the North Rift are harvesting and farmers in Mt Kenya and eastern region planted a month ago though there is fear of low production owing to the delay of rainfall onset. 

Earlier in an interview Agriculture Principal Secretary Hamadi Boga  warned that the projected short rains maize harvest of 10 million bags is likely to reduce to only five million.

“Kenyans should not be alarmed as we had factored this in our food balance sheet two months ago.

We will be okay until March next year and after that we will make provision for maize importation,” he said.

Uasin Gishu county Executive in charge of Agriculture Samuel Yego in an interview in his office early this week said some farmers and traders are exporting the commodity to Uganda and Southern Sudan.  

Nyaga said the market is already grappling with a low shortage of maize, a situation he warned is likely to trigger a high maize flour prices mainly during the Christmas and New Year festivities.

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