Retailers keep flour prices unchanged as maize cost drops 35pc in two weeks


A woman shops for flour at a Nyeri town supermarket. Flour prices have remained unchanged over the past two weeks despite the cost of maize falling by 35 per cent over the period. PHOTO | FILE |

Flour prices have remained unchanged over the past two weeks despite the cost of maize falling by 35 per cent over the period.

A 90 kilogramme bag of maize is selling at Sh1,300 from Sh2,000 mid last month, but the prices of flour have stagnated in the period.

A 2kg pack of maize flour is retailing at between Sh104 and Sh107, a pointer that millers are taking a bigger margin from sale of the staple.
Retailers say they have not received new prices for flour.

READ: Farmers in a tight corner as maize price hits Sh1300 a bag

“We are currently selling the flour based on what the millers are selling to us; we cannot make any changes before we receive a new price list,” said a manager at Tuskys supermarket, where the price of a two kilo packet of Jogoo is going at Sh107 while the same brand at Eastmatt supermarket is retailing at Sh104. The two were selling at Sh110 last month.

In September, the millers said they had reduced the factory gate price by almost Sh10 depending on the brand.

The Cereal Growers Association has raised concerns over the high prices of flour in the wake of cheap maize in the country.

“The prices of flour should be in tandem with the cost of maize. It will be unfair for retailers and even millers to sell the commodity exorbitantly to gain abnormal profits,” said the CEO Anthony Kioko.

The price of maize has been dropping in the last four months with the onset of harvest in the South and North Rift and with increased cross border trade within East Africa.

The 90kg bag of maize has dropped from Sh3, 200 in May, offering millers room to cut flour prices. Flour prices stood at Sh118 in May.

Maize prices have fallen steeply since over the past month, pulled down by harvest and brokers taking advantage of the absence of the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) in the market. 

READ: Maize prices fall to Sh1,500 on absence of NCPB

The NCPB sets market benchmarks by offering competitive prices, and delay to allocate it funds has exposed farmers to exploitation by middlemen.

Maize and fuel play a significant role in the cost of living and the drop in the cost of these two commodities has eased inflation from 6.6 per cent in September to 6.43 last month.

READ: Cost of living eases slightly on lower food, electricity prices

Consumers are enjoying low fuel prices after the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) in September cut the maximum price of super petrol in Nairobi by Sh4.98 per litre to Sh111.64. The price of kerosene fell by Sh1.42 per litre to Sh82.79.