Commodities

Consumers face higher flour prices on low maize harvest

FLOUR1905D

A supermarket worker at a maize flour section in Nyeri on May 19. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NMG

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Summary

  • The weatherman has announced that the country should brace for depressed rainfall during this period, which coincides with the season when the short rain crop is planted.
  • The Kenya Meteorological Department warned that the distribution of the rainfall in time and space is expected to be generally poor over several areas, in October and November when its expected to peak.
  • Mr Kioko said they are sensitising farmers so that they can grow early maturing varieties to avoid losses in the event of early cessation of rain.

Kenya may be forced to import maize next year to cover an anticipated deficit due to depressed short rains, growers have warned, setting consumers up for higher food charges at a time purchasing power has been eroded by job losses and pay cuts.

The weatherman has announced that the country should brace for depressed rainfall during this period, which coincides with the season when the short rain crop is planted.

This crop normally plays a major role in supplementing the produce from the main season, checking the cost of flour.

“The impact will depend on the severity of the dry conditions. The short rains play a major role in ensuring food availability in the country,” said Anthony Kioko, chief executive officer of Cereal Growers Association.

The Kenya Meteorological Department warned that the distribution of the rainfall in time and space is expected to be generally poor over several areas, in October and November when its expected to peak.

Mr Kioko said they are sensitising farmers so that they can grow early maturing varieties to avoid losses in the event of early cessation of rain.

He said they have also engaged insurance firms to ensure that farmers are covered.

“We are sensitising farmers to join insurance schemes that offer compensation on crops and at the same time engaging insurance firms to understand the package of their product,” he said.

The short rain crops come in handy at the time when stocks from the main harvest are being exhausted, ensuring steady supply of the grain in the country.

Kenya was forced to import maize from as far as Mexico this year following a shortage in the country, which has seen the price of flour remain high. A two kilogramme packet of maize flour is retailing at Sh120 on average currently.

Kenya normally relies on cross border imports to meet the annual demand of maize because of the perennial shortage.

However, most of the produce coming in from Uganda is normally rejected because of high levels of poisonous aflatoxin.