The price of maize is expected to rise in the coming days with the end of the subsidy as all millers resume operations in the wake of a limited supply of the produce.
Only 129 millers out of 300 had been listed under the subsidy with more than half of the processors halting their milling activities after the government announced that most flour brands were to be sold at Sh100 (per two-kilogramme packet) during the subsidy period.
United Grain Millers Association (UGMA) chairman Ken Nyaga says the coming on board of the millers who had stopped processing will put pressure on the available grain, hence pushing up the cost.
“During the subsidy programme, there were only 129 millers who were processing, with the end of this scheme, those who had stopped are now back to milling, this will put more pressure on limited maize that we have in the market,” said Mr Nyaga.
Mr Nyaga said the cost of maize will rise to Sh5,900 from the current low of Sh5,500 for a 90-kilo bag.
“The flour will go back to its original prices because of the high cost of maize. We expect a two-kilogramme packet to retail at Sh210,” he said.
Kenya is at the moment relying on imports of maize from Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia with the main crop expected to be brought to the market later in the year.
However, there are few quantities coming in from the short rain crop in parts of the south rift but cannot be sufficient enough to lower the current prices. Most supermarket shelves remain empty.
Most of the large-scale millers ended the subsidy programme between Monday and Wednesday last week while the contract with their small-scale counterparts came to an end on Friday. President Uhuru Kenyatta introduced the plan a month ago.