Maize flour price rises above Sh100 on grain shortage

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A maize flour section at a Tuskys Supermarket branch in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The retail price of maize flour has risen above Sh100 for a two-kilo packet as farmers continue to hoard their produce in anticipation of higher prices in future, denying millers the raw material.

The increase corresponds to a hike in cost of maize with a 90 kilogramme bag now selling at Sh2,600 from Sh2,200 previously.

It also follows a strict government directive on imports coming in from Uganda and Tanzania, after the grain coming in from those markets was flagged over high levels of aflatoxin.

“Farmers are not releasing maize to the market after the restrictions were imposed on Uganda and Tanzanian maize, pushing up the cost of the raw material,” said Ken Nyagah, chairperson of the United Grain Millers Association.

The price of flour had dropped to below Sh100 in January and held steady on low demand, but now the maize supply constraint is pushing the price upwards even as demand remains muted.

This week, a two kilogramme packet of Jogoo brand is up to Sh102 from Sh99 last week, Soko is up to Sh105 from Sh97, Pembe is selling at Sh106 from Sh99, with Mama going at Sh98 from Sh93 previously.

The Ministry of Agriculture announced last month that none of the maize traders had met new requirements for imports from Uganda, raising fears of the commodity shortage in the country as Kenya relies on cross border- trade to meet the deficit.

The ministry said that as at last month, traders were yet to conform to the laid down guidelines to allow them ship in the grain.

Maize forms 80 per cent of the raw material used in production of flour and an increase in cost has a proportional effect to the consumers.