Commodities

Maize flour price falls to 3-year low as demand drops

unga (4)

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

geraldandae

Summary

  • The price of maize flour has dropped to below Sh100 for some brands for the first time in the last three years, coming as a relief to the households.
  • The decline in price is in response to low demand by consumers as millers are still holding huge volumes of unsold stocks.
  • This marks the second time in a span of two months that the price of the staple has declined on the shelves.

The price of maize flour has dropped to below Sh100 for some brands for the first time in the last three years, coming as a relief to the households.

The decline in price is in response to low demand by consumers as millers are still holding huge volumes of unsold stocks.

This marks the second time in a span of two months that the price of the staple has declined on the shelves.

A two-kilogramme packet of major brands in retail chains has gone down to Sh101 for Pembe, from Sh108, Soko is selling at Sh103, with Jogoo going for Sh99 from Sh108 previously.

“Demand is very low at the moment, in fact it worse than it was a few months ago when Covid-19 had just struck.

“Low purchasing power has now seen consumers opt for posho mill flour because it is now affordable to buy maize,” said Ken Nyagah, chairperson at United Grain Millers Association.

The cost of maize, which forms 80 per cent of the raw material used in production of flour, had dropped in October with the onset of harvesting in some parts of the north rift, however the price rallied last month after NCPB set the buying price. The NCPB is targeting to buy a minimum of a million bags for commercial purposes unlike previously when it would purchase on behalf of the government for the Strategic Food Reserve.

A 90-kilogramme bag of maize that has been retailing at Sh2,300 after increasing from Sh1,800 in October. The NCPB now buying at Sh2,500.

The decline in flour prices, which is a staple, comes as a boost to households that are grappling with the effects of the Covid-19 that have led to loss in income as most companies laid off their employees.

Flour prices hit a high of Sh120 on average for the whole of last year and remained costly even with the onset of main crop in October 2019, which millers had anticipated that could have created a relief to consumers.