Commodities

Maize flour price rises on grain cost

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An attendant arranges packets of maize flour at Samrat supermarket in Nyeri town on July 3, 2019. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NMG

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Summary

  • The cost of the staple on the shelves is steadily rising to levels that were last seen in April 2020 after a two-kilogramme packet of flour hit a high of Sh124 from a low of Sh108 last month.
  • Popular brands such as Pembe and Soko are now trading at Sh124 with Jogoo going for Sh122 for a two-kilo packet at major retail outlets.
  • The price of maize, which has been steadily rising since December, has now hit a high of Sh3,500 for a 90-kg bag when delivered to millers in Nairobi from a low of Sh2,300 in early December.

The maize flour price has gone up at major retail outlets, worsening the plight of households already grappling with an increase in the cost of other basic commodities and sparking fears of higher inflation.

The cost of the staple on the shelves is steadily rising to levels that were last seen in April 2020 after a two-kilogramme packet of flour hit a high of Sh124 from a low of Sh108 last month with millers attributing the rising cost on expensive maize.

“The sharp jump in the price of flour was occasioned by a steep rise in the cost of maize, from a low of Sh2,600 to the current price because of the scarcity that was there in the market,” said Capwell Industries chief executive Rajan Shah.

Popular brands such as Pembe and Soko are now trading at Sh124 with Jogoo going for Sh122 for a two-kilo packet at major retail outlets. However, the prices in estate shops are as high as Sh130.

Millers had warned of an impending rise in the price of flour because of limited maize stocks in the market as farmers hoard their produce in anticipation of an increase in the cost of maize in the coming days.

The millers forecast that the price of flour was likely to touch the Sh130 mark for a two-kilogramme packet.

The price of maize, which has been steadily rising since December, has now hit a high of Sh3,500 for a 90-kg bag when delivered to millers in Nairobi from a low of Sh2,300 in early December, impacting negatively on the cost of flour.

National Cereals and Produce Board was forced last month to increase the price of maize by Sh300 to woo farmers in the wake of a shortage.

The rising cost of both maize and flour will pile pressure on the cost of living, coming at a time when the prices of other household goods such as sugar and milk have remained high in recent days.

Inflation, which is a measure of change in the cost of living, fell marginally to 5.7 percent in December from 5.8 percent in November, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.

The food and non-alcoholic drinks index, which accounts for a third of the inflation basket, rose nine percent from a year earlier, in comparison with a 9.9 percent increase in November as the cost of items such as onions and bread pushed up the food basket.

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