Commodities

Maize prices fall 26pc as supply rises

NAIVAS-2004FC

Maize flour section at a supermarket. FILE PHOTO | NMG

geraldandae

Summary

  • Maize prices at the farm gate have dropped by 26 percent as the harvesting season begins in Kenya’s breadbasket, signalling a decline in consumer prices of flour.
  • The price of a 90-kilo bag of maize has dropped from Sh2,700 to Sh2,000 at the moment in the rift valley counties of Trans-Nzoia and Uasin Gishu.

Maize prices at the farm gate have dropped by 26 percent as the harvesting season begins in Kenya’s breadbasket, signalling a decline in consumer prices of flour.

The price of a 90-kilo bag of maize has dropped from Sh2,700 to Sh2,000 at the moment in the rift valley counties of Trans-Nzoia and Uasin Gishu.

However, millers say that they are buying maize at Sh2,500 delivered in Nairobi from the north rift, arguing that the decline will have minimal impact on the price of flour.

“We are now buying maize from farmers at Sh2,000 at the farm gate as farmers start harvesting their crop,” said Anne Mburu, a maize trader in Trans Nzoia.

The inflow of imports from Uganda, which is rampant in western Kenya has also been a factor in the declining prices of maize. A two-kilo packet of Jogoo is now retailing at Sh99 down from Sh109, Soko is selling at Sh96 down from Sh104 with Mama going at Sh96.

The decline is in response to the falling price of maize, which accounts for 80 percent of the total cost involved in the milling of flour.

The Ministry of Agriculture projects that maize production will drop by 20 percent this year following the delays in grain and effects of the fall armyworm.

Trans Nzoia and Uasin Gishu counties witnessed delayed rains during plant season, impacting negatively on germination of seed in the farms. There was also an invasion of fall armyworm in the two counties, which also is expected to affect the yields.

Millers have said that the cost of flour is not likely to increase any further because of good maize supplies.

Rajan Shah, chief executive at Capwell Industries said there has been an increase in demand but is yet to reach the pre-Covid level.

“The demand is not bad at the moment but we are yet to go back to pre-Covid level,” said Mr Rajan.

The declining cost of the staple will come as a reprieve to households that are grappling with the high cost of other basic items fuel and energy bills.