The maize issue imports have flooded the local market setting stage for reduced prices this season in the Rift Valley. Private millers are purchasing maize from Uganda and Tanzania for as low as Sh2,400 per 90 kilograms as logistical issues delay the release of the State’s two million bags.
“Cereal farmers are staring at losses due to further drop in producer prices as cheap maize from Ugandan and Tanzania stream into the local market,” said Jackson Too, a miller in Eldoret. This come as the Strategic Food Reserve Oversight Board (SFR) admits that it faces logistical challenges releasing the maize from the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) at Sh2,700 up from Sh2,300 per 90 kilo bag to lower the cost of maize.
SFR board Chairman Noah Wekesa Monday attributed interruptions in the release of the maize to delays in opening up of an independent account to raise sufficient funds to purchase this season’s crop. He confirmed the entry of more maize from East African Community (EAC) states,
noting it has helped lower the cost of maize to relief of consumers.
“We have been receiving more maize from Uganda through Suam, Malaba and Busia border and from Tanzania via Namanga and Mombasa entry points to meet the increasing demand of the stable source of food,” Dr Wekesa said.
Maize prices have dropped from Sh3,600 to Sh2,800 in most parts of Western Kenya region following importation of cheap grains and harvest of short term crops.
“As a board we shall have an independent account away from NCPB to raise enough funds to enable us pay farmers promptly for deliveries of maize this season,” Dr Wekesa explained.