The government’s move to release additional low-cost maize in efforts to curb flour price increases is a step in the right direction.
The move came even as it was revealed that local millers had exhausted the two million bags of maize that the National Cereals and Produce Board had released to them last month.
According to the Strategic Food Reserve Oversight Board, some 1.7 million bags of maize were allocated to the millers for human consumption and 300,000 bags for the production of animal feeds.
The NCPB released the subsidised maize at Sh2,300 per 90 kilogramme bag against the prevailing Sh3,200 per bag in the open market. The government has been caught in a precarious position with consumers accusing it of not doing enough to contain the rising prices of the popular staple. However, we opine that in order for the subsidy programme to succeed the millers must work in concert with the government so as to ensure a steady supply.
The fact remains that many farmers are still holding onto their maize harvest due to the low prices being offered. Measures need to be rolled out to tap into these massive stocks for onward supply to the millers so as to help lower the prices.