The government has subsidised the price of maize flour to Sh100 for a two-kilogramme packet in a deal with millers aimed at diffusing public outrage over the high cost of living as Kenyans go to the ballot.
According to a statement by the Agriculture Ministry on Monday, the new prices will run for four weeks.
“The recommended retail price of flour should not exceed Sh100 for a 2kg packet, Sh250 for a 5kg packet and Sh490 for a 10kg packet,” it said.
Flour prices hit Sh210 for a two-kilo packet, up from Sh120 at the start of the year following crop failure due to poor weather and a shift in the movement of Uganda maize to South Sudan.
Coupled with high fuel prices, inflation hit a 58-month high of 7.9 percent last month, breaching the government’s upper limit ceiling for the first time in nearly five years and further squeezing the stagnant earnings of households. Many families have been forced to skip meals and trim their budgets on other items.
The maize subsidy announcement comes just three weeks before Kenyans head to the polls on August 9.
The growing public outcry over the high cost of living would have dealt the government a blow and hurt the chances of candidates supported by the State, including presidential candidate Raila Odinga.
To enforce compliance, the ministry says it will dispatch representatives to the millers’ premises and depots to verify flour market prices.