Price of maize flour has eased by up to Sh10 as maize millers grapple with loads of unmoving stocks in the wake of Covid-19 that has weakened the purchasing power of households.
A two-kilogramme packet of flour, which had last month shot up to Sh136 has now come down to Sh125 in major retail shops in Nairobi.
“The ability to buy most of the basic goods has dropped significantly because a lot of people are either out of jobs or have salary cuts because of the Covid-19,” said Mr Ken Nyagah, chairman of the United Grain Millers.
“We have tried to bring the price down to the minimum that we can to attract customers but the demand is still low.”
Mr Nyagah, whose umbrella body has a market share of 60 percent in Kenya, said millers were buying maize at Sh3,300 for a 90-kilogramme bag, up from Sh3,000 previously as the supply of grain tightens in the market.
He said with the ongoing trends of maize shortage and higher prices in the market, the consumers should expect higher prices in the coming days.
The government has allowed millers to bring in two million bags of white maize at 14 percent import duty to bridge the deficit expected between July and August when the short rain crop from the South Rift is expected to hit the market.
The Ministry of Agriculture said a recent survey conducted by its officials indicated that the available stocks of maize would last until the end of June.
Agriculture Cabinet secretary Peter Munya said recently there are six million bags of maize in the country and warned processors against increasing the cost of flour without any justification.
Maize production in the last season dropped by 10 million bags following a reduction in area under the crop as a result of delayed rains, which saw some farmers shift to other crops.
The decline was also precipitated by post-harvest losses realised during harvesting of the main crop following prolonged rains that coincided with exercise.