31 August 2011

Kenya: Maize Prices Too High, Say Millers

Maize millers are unhappy with the prices for this year's crop, which they say it too much.

The millers say the prices of flour will go up.

Their outcry comes as Agriculture permanent secretary, Romano Kiome, said it now costs between Sh1,500 and Sh1,800 to produce a 90 kg bag of maize.

"This means, farmers are making a comfortable profit when they sell at the government rates of Sh3,000 a bag, up from Sh 1,800 last year," Dr Kiome said during a research field day at Endebbes in Trans Nzoia County.

But Cereal Millers Association Chairman, Diamond Lalji, said that though the price increase would motivate farmers to increase output, this year's price is too high and will lead to an increase in the price of unga.

"As maize farmers smile all the way to the bank, consumers will pay more," he said.

He added that consumers were now eating potatoes, which are plenty in the market in anticipation that flour prices will return to the ideal of about Sh75.

A two kilogramme packet of flour has come down to Sh120 in Eldoret from Sh140.

Mr Lalji further said millers have held back from GMO imports because of the perception created among Kenyans that it is unsafe to eat.

"We are not in a hurry because of their safety," said the chairman.

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