Surplus stocks in Tanzania have raised maize supply helping cool the rising price of the produce in Kenya.
Tanzania has announced it has more than a million-tonne surplus, which it will sell to the regional states, unlike previously when it imposed an exports ban.
Millers in Mombasa and Nairobi are getting supplies from traders bringing in the commodity.
The maize is landing in Nairobi at Sh3,200 a bag.
“There are good stocks coming in from Tanzania and we are getting some too from Uganda.
“This maize will go a long way in boosting the current limited stocks in the country,” said Gerald Masila, Executive Director of Eastern Africa Grain Council.
Millers are paying Sh3,000 for a 90-kilogramme bag of maize down from Sh3,400 last month, with the prices expected to further drop as farmers release the stocks that they had been hoarding to the market.
Mr Masila said Tanzania is supplying a lot of grain to the region replenishing stocks that would have been depleted by now.
However, he warned the importation process should start now given that the grain in the region would not be enough to last beyond July.
“Even with this stocks in the region, imports are inevitable and the process of shipping in the grain has to start on time to avoid last minute rush,” he said.
Kenya is also expected to import maize from Mexico.
The government has indicated it will open the import window in July despite opposition from farmers’ lobby that said imports will hurt farmers.
However, Cereal Growers Association said there is no need for imports because stock available is adequate.
“The government should not allow the importation of grain in the country at a time when the short rains crop will be ready for harvesting in July…this is a move to sabotage farmers,” said Fanuel Kruger, chairperson of the Cereal Millers Growers.
The Agriculture ministry said only registered large-scale millers would be allowed to import maize to cover the deficit.