Economy & Politics

Stores ration subsidised maize flour

Prices of maize flour and other foods have become a headache for President Uhuru Kenyatta. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Prices of maize flour and other foods have become a headache for President Uhuru Kenyatta. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Subsidised maize flour will be available across the country from Sunday due to logistic hitches as Nairobi supermarkets restricted shoppers to two 2kg packets.

Cereal Millers Association (CMA) Wednesday said the Sh90 a packet maize flour will be available at all top retail chains by Friday.

The cheap maize is the product of a Sh6 billion subsidy meant to lower the price of a 90 kg bag of maize to Sh2,300 from over Sh4,000.

“CMA attributes this to logistical issues where some of our members have had to adjust their distribution schedules, and secondly to the contractual obligations between our members and particular supermarkets,” the millers’ lobby said in reference to lack of the cheaper maize on shop shelves.

“We therefore expect that the GOK-subsidised maize will be available countrywide in small shops and supermarkets by end of day Sunday.”

Rising prices of maize flour and other foods have become a headache for President Uhuru Kenyatta as he seeks a second term in the August elections.

He is running against opposition leader Raila Odinga, who has used the high cost of living to portray the government as incompetent.

A spot-check by the Business Daily on Wednesday showed that Tuskys supermarket was the only retailer selling the subsidised flour in Nairobi’s central business district.

“Polite notice, kindly pick only two (2),” read a note placed on the shelf at the Tuskys Chap Chap branch as rationing persisted.

Nakumatt and Uchumi supermarkets #ticker:UCHM did not have flour but officials said orders had been made.

“We have ordered for the flour and we expect it on the shelf anytime today, I assure our customers that we will have enough of it before the weekend,” Nakumatt chief executive Atul Shah said.

The government plans to import 2.9 million bags of maize in June and subsidise up to about five million bags until harvest time.
It has allowed millers to import maize.

A similar subsidy plan is being mulled to lower the cost of milk and sugar.

Prices of sugar and milk have skyrocketed in recent months, pushing inflation to a 57-month high of 11.48 per cent last month.

The price jump is partly caused by drought which has left about 2.7 million people in need of food aid.