Kenyans told to expect  expensive maize flour

Written by on 27 April 2022

Grain sector players are warning of tough times ahead as prices of maize and wheat are expected to rise steeply in the next three months, thanks to the continued dwindling of the available stocks both locally and in the region.

Traders under the umbrella body of East African Grain Council (EAGC) caution that maize production in the region  faces great threats including reduction in acreage and emerging pests.

Gerald Masila, EAGC executive director said the region is grappling with the huge impact of the prolonged drought leading to skyrocketing food prices thus largely hurting the already depressed consumers’ purchasing power.

Maize shortage

He said the price of a 90 kilogramme bag of white maize has increased by about 20 per cent to about Sh4,300 currently from around Sh3,600 recorded in January.  

Masila noted that it is just April and there is already a maize shortage being experienced in the country.

“This has led to an increase in the price of a 90 kg bag of maize to Sh4,300 from the last four months contributing to increasing food prices which is a big setback to the majority of consumers who are also struggling with other daily household demands,” said Masila in an interview

Survey in local retail outlets costs of major maize flour brands are selling at more than Sh130 for a 2kg packet with millers warning that the prices are likely to hit more than Sh140 for the same in the next two weeks.

It also revealed that all 2-kg packets of major wheat flour brands is above Sh160 making it hard for Kenyans to enjoy chapati’s, madazi’s and  mahamuri in the local hotels. 

Masila said the government needs to assist value chains to scout for alternative markets. The war between Russia and Ukraine has triggered prices upward globally. Wheat imports from the two countries have reduced in the recent past months leading to price hike.

However, Masila refuted claims that farmers are hoarding maize thus triggering high prices in the local market. However, he hastened to add that the scenario offers a better opportunity to value chain players who have maize stocks currently.

Local maize production is expected in July/August period from South Rift areas such as Sotik and which may not be enough to feed the population. According to Kennedy Nyaga, chairman of the United Grain Millers Association in a phone interview, food commodity prices are increasing daily and soon the consumer purchasing power will be badly affected.

Local market

“Maize stocks in the region are equally not enough and expensive,” he said. Masila said the regional partners such as Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia are expected to start harvesting at the end of June, a  stock he added might start coming into the Kenyan market around the end of July and August.

He said maize inflows from the region will enter into the local market at a time when prices of maize will still be high and the maize will get swept out immediately due to the looming shortage.

“We expect maize from Uganda and Tanzania from around July to August which may not be enough to sustain the market up to October-November-December period during the main crop harvest.” Masila added.

Reader's opinions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Current track