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Commodities

Maize flour price drops as supply pressure eases

maize flour
An attendant arranges packets of maize flour at a supermarket in Nyeri town. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The price of maize flour has slightly gone down as pressure on supply eases following the harvesting of the short-rains crop.

The price of a two-kilogramme packet of flour has dropped to Sh128 from a high of Sh135 for some brands as late as last month.

Agriculture Principal Secretary Hamadi Boga said the decline has been brought about by increase in supply and also lower demand for the flour.

“Millers have been complaining of low movement of the stocks in the shelves and some of them have had to reduce what they mill in a day; this slack demand and increase in supply of maize is what could have prompted a decline in cost of the staple,” said Prof Boga.

The price of flour has been above Sh130 since June last year with processors citing shortage for the high cost.

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A 90-kilo bag produce has on average been retailing at Sh3,000 at the gate but this has so far come down to about Sh2,800. Some parts of eastern, according the Cereal Growers Association (CGA), has been as low as Sh2,000 for 90-kilo bag of maize.

“Our survey has indicated that the prices now range from Sh2,200 and Sh2,600 depending on where one is buying,” said CGA chief executive officer Anthony Kioko.

Stocks are expected to rise in July when the south region is expected to harvest though locusts ravaging different parts of the country could change the scenario.

However, the prices are likely to rise at the end of next month when the current stocks in the country are projected to have been depleted. The Ministry of Agriculture says that a recent survey indicated that the available stocks of maize will be exhausted at the end of April.

Strategic Food Reserve has already written to the ministry requesting it to allow imports of two million bags to curb an impending crisis.

Maize production in the last season was forecast to drop 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 the exercise.

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