The Ministry of Agriculture will Tuesday hold a second meeting with millers to agree on the modalities of releasing cheap maize from the Strategic Food Reserve (SFR) to ease the rising cost of flour.
In a letter written by Agriculture Principal Secretary Hamadi Boga, the chairpersons of different milling associations have been invited for a consultative meeting with Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri on Tuesday.
Prof Boga says the government will engage registered millers affiliated to the Cereal Millers Association, United Grain millers, Nakuru Small and Medium Scale Association and Meru County Millers Association.
“Due to the escalating maize prices and the subsequent high maize flour prices being experienced in the country, the government intends to release part of the strategic maize reserves into the market to stabilise grain supply and food prices,” says the letter.
“The purpose of this letter is to invite the chairpersons and the secretaries of these associations for consultative meeting with the Cabinet Secretary on April 30,” he added.
The PS said the maize to be released is of various grades warehoused in different depots of the National Cereals and Produce Board across the country.
The millers had met with the CS on April 17 where the government made the first promise to release stocks held at the SFR.
The government had during the meeting indicated it would release two million bags of grade three and four to millers.
However, processors opposed the move saying the grades were not suitable for milling.
Millers who spoke to the Business Daily say they do not mill anything below grade two for human consumption.
“We do not mill anything below grade two. The only maize we process for human meal is grade one and two,” said one of the large-scale millers who requested anonymity to maintain trade relations. But there was no communication in regard to that from the Cabinet communique.
Maize prices have hit Sh3,400 per 90kg bag from Sh2,300 in March. A two-kg packet of flour has increased to Sh119 so far.