Consumers should brace themselves for maize flour price increases in the next few weeks as shortage of the grain persists due to delay by the Cabinet to approve importation, Agriculture Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri has warned.
A two-kilogramme packet of the flour could rise from the current Sh120 to Sh150.
“Prices of a two-kilogrammes packet of maize flour is currently retailing at Sh120 but this might increase to more than Sh150 in the next one month if right measures are not taken,” he warned.
Mr Kiunjuri said the discussion was still at Cabinet level, making it difficult for millers and traders to import the commodity.
“We understand there is a big shortage of more than 19 million bags that need to be imported but we are yet to pass the motion to authorise the importation,” said Mr Kiunjuri.
“More than 12 million bags will be imported once the approval is made for human consumption while six million bags to cushion dairy farmers.”
Any importation before the Cabinet approval is illegal, he warned.
Recently Tanzania it was in a position to supply more than one million bags of the grain to Kenya, but the two neighbouring countries were yet to agree on the details.
“The shortage we are experiencing at the moment is attributed to short rains we received this year, which will result to lower yields below the expected average of more than five million bags from major maize producing regions,” said Mr Kiunjuri in Mombasa during the launch of Agricultural Transformation and Support Food Security Strategy.
He, however, said the government would determine the quantities to import and not businesses keen on profits.