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Commodities

Maize price falls to Sh3,100 on toxins, lower consumer demand

Hamadi Boga
Agriculture Principal Secretary Hamadi Boga. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The price of maize has dropped to Sh3,100 from Sh3,500 a bag on the back of high levels of aflatoxin that has seen millers reject most of the produce amidst falling consumer demand.

Agriculture Principal Secretary Hamadi Boga said consumption has slumped as Kenyans eat less ugali, leaving millers with dead stock.

"Supply and demand is what rules the market. Most of the good maize is also gone, cheap maize may have high aflatoxin levels. So millers have to be more careful," said Prof Boga in an interview.

The processors have argued that stocks are not moving even after lowering the price to attract consumers.

"Frankly, there is no demand for flour hence the lower maize prices," said Rajan Shah, chief executive officer of Capwell Industries, the makers of Soko and Amaize flour.

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The price of a 90-kilo bag has dropped from a high of Sh3,500 as late as last month to the current low of Sh3,100.

"Regulators need to understand the serious challenges millers are facing on how to sieve through good and bad maize because suppliers are becoming more unscrupulous by mixing maize with aflatoxin especially the stocks coming in from Uganda," he said.

He said the process of checking aflatoxin should start with those supplying maize other than subjecting the end product to scrutiny. The falling price comes at a time when government has authorised importation of two million bags of white maize to ease the shortage that is anticipated to hit the country at the end of this month.

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