Flour price rises to record Sh148 on maize shortage


Workers arrange maize flour packets at a supermarket in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Consumers will pay more for the staple maize flour as the price of the commodity hits an all-time high of Sh148 for a two-kilogramme packet on the shelves against a backdrop of expensive maize in the market.

The price of a two-kilogramme packet of Soko and Ajab flours is retailing at Sh148, Pembe at Sh144 while Jogoo is selling for Sh140 from an average of Sh120 a week ago.

This is the highest price to have been realised in the country for decades with the highest level achieved in recent years being 2017 when the cost of flour hit Sh136 for a two-kilo packet on the back of a serious drought.

“The price of maize has gone up and it is not readily available in the market, this is the reason why the price of flour is rising,” said Rajan Shah, chief executive officer of Capwell Industries.

The price of a 90-kilogramme bag of maize has gone up to Sh4,500 from Sh3,700 last month as the supply of the produce tightens in the market.

The rising price of the staple adds to an already expensive shopping basket for consumers who are grappling with the high cost of other basic commodities such as sugar cooking oil and milk, a move likely to spark inflation.

Millers have been struggling to get stocks of maize from farmers as the imports from Tanzania and Uganda have slowed down in recent days.

Tanzanian and Ugandan maize supplements the available stocks given that Kenya does not produce enough to meet the annual requirements.

There have been reports of farmers hoarding their stocks in anticipation of good prices in the coming days.

A report by the Ministry of Agriculture released last month indicated that 85 percent of the total stock of maize in the county is being held by farmers.

The report indicated that growers are holding 8.5 million bags of maize stocks out of 10.1 million bags of 90Kgs, which has left millers with a serious shortage of grain. Millers and traders were in possession of a paltry 1.5 million bags.

The ministry has recommended the importation of four million bags of duty-free maize to cover for an expected deficit following a decline in supplies of the produce coming in from Uganda.

The government says poor regional supply from the neighbouring country and delayed short rains could make it necessary for Kenya to import maize.

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