Maize prices rise after tightening of import conditions


A customer buys maize from Uganda at a market near the Busia border. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Maize prices have started rising following a fall in imports from Uganda after the government imposed stricter measures to curb cases of cancer-causing aflatoxin on grain.

A 90kg bag is now selling at between Sh2,500 to Sh2,800 from Sh2,220 previously at the farm gate with millers expecting the prices to rise further in coming days.

According to millers, even though they are now getting supplies that are free from the aflatoxin, the supply of maize in the market has become limited, pushing up the prices of the commodity.

“We have low supplies and prices are going up, now trending towards Sh2,800 (90 kilo bag),” said one of the millers.

Even though the cost of maize flour at the shelves is yet to change, the current rise signals retail price jump given that the cost of maize accounts for 80 percent of the cost of production.

The Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) gave stringent measures that must be adhered to before the imports can be made from Uganda and Tanzania. They include registration of all traders by the authority and issuing the details of the warehouse where the produce had been stored.

Traders importing maize from Uganda will be required to also have certificate of origin before they get clearance at the border points.

AFA also required traders to have certificate of conformity indicating that the aflatoxin levels.

The regional imports had pushed down the price of the produce in north rift to Sh2,200 for a 90 kilogramme bag from Sh2,300 at farm gate last month.

Tanzanian and Ugandan maize started hitting the Kenyan market last month before the government moved in with strict guidelines on imports following high level of aflatoxin.