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Wheat imports rise ahead of Budget reading

Wheat harvesting
Wheat harvesting. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Wheat millers stepped up imports ahead of the Budget reading today for fear that the Treasury might raise duty on the grain.

Data from the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) shows volumes of wheat have been going up since April, making it one of the top bulky cargoes at the facility. For instance, this week wheat was the leading cargo in terms of volumes, having registered 61,320 tonnes.

Data from KPA indicates that the tonnage imported on May 22 was 42,034 before jumping to 61,320 tonnes this week.

“We have been monitoring the situation and noted the trends where the volumes of imported wheat have been going up since April,” says Anthony Kioko, chief executive officer of Cereal Growers Association.

Millers have always been enhancing the volumes of the produce ahead of Budget reading so as to have enough of cheap grain in case the duty is revised upwards.

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Kenya currently charges 10 percent duty on all imported wheat but it is still cheaper when compared with the locally produced commodity.

Local farmers have always demanded high price for a 90-kilo bag of wheat, forcing millers to pay Sh3,100 against the imported type that lands at about Sh2,800.

Millers say high local prices have made them uncompetitive as the Government compels them to pay farmers Sh3,200 for a 90-kilo bag in view of free movement of goods in the region.

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