Market News

Maize price worries over fresh imports

maize

Maize delivered to a National Cereal and Produce Board depot. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • In Trans-Nzoia and Uasin Gishu, traders have flooded the region with imports from Uganda, pushing down the price to Sh2,200 for a 90-kilogramme bag from Sh2,300 at the farm gate.
  • Millers are also stocking the grain on expectations that supplies will fall in coming weeks.
  • Aflatoxin levels in the imported maize also determine the price, with Tanzanian produce attracting higher prices compared to Ugandan maize which normally records higher levels.

Tanzanian and Ugandan maize has started coming into the Kenyan market, raising fears among farmers that this will depress price of the local produce in coming days.

In Trans-Nzoia and Uasin Gishu, traders have flooded the region with imports from Uganda, pushing down the price to Sh2,200 for a 90-kilogramme bag from Sh2,300 at the farm gate.

Millers are also stocking the grain on expectations that supplies will fall in coming weeks.

Aflatoxin levels in the imported maize also determine the price, with Tanzanian produce attracting higher prices compared to Ugandan maize which normally records higher levels.

Millers are paying Sh2,700 for a 90 kilo bag in Nairobi that is coming in from Kasese, Uganda.

“The stocks coming in from Uganda have helped to stabilise the prices in the market and we expect the cost to remain within the current levels of Sh2,800,” said Ken Nyagah, chairman of the United Grain Millers Association.

He, however, decried low demand of flour on the shelves as consumers have cut down on their purchases due to harsh economic times.

The demand for flour has been down since the outbreak of Covid-19 last year, which saw households grapple with pay cuts and job losses that impacted on their purchasing powers.

There were fears that the price of flour would go up after National Cereals and Produce Board increased the cost of maize to Sh2,700 from Sh2,500, forcing millers to increase the cost to Sh2,800 in order woo farmers.

The price of maize flour dropped to below Sh100 for some brands for the first time in January to make it the lowest cost in the last three years, coming as a relief to the households.