15 January 2014

Kenya: High Demand Pushes Up Maize Prices in North Rift

The price of maize has increased in most parts of the North Rift as buyers rush to build stocks fearing a looming shortage.

Middlement wo have been buying the commodity at less than Sh2,600 per 90 kilo bag are now matching the Sh3,000 offered by the National Cereals and Produce Board.

Farmers in parts of Uasin Gishu, Nandi and Trans Nzoia said the maize prices were on the increase because of the expected shortage.

"The harvest this year was not very good and we expect some shortage although we now have maize imported from neighbouring countries like Uganda," said Enock Kimosong from the Kenyan National Farmers Union.

James Kirwa who is one of the middlemen buying the maize at Ziwa in Uasin Gishu county said supplies had dwindled.

"When I started buying a month ago the supplies were very high but now the situation is different and few farmers are willing to sell their produce," said Kirwa.

Kimosong said the shortages may push the prices above the NCPB offer.

Some farmers have opted to hoard the commodity in anticipation of the higher prices.

The NCPB has so far bought about 500,000 bags out of the targetted 1 million bags for the Strategic Grain Reserves.

"We are still receiving the maize from farmers in many areas and we will do so until we get the amount we require," said NCPB spokesman Evans Wasike.

Wasike who was speaking to the Star on phone said they were still receiving more than 10,000 bags per day.

The board has so far used more than Sh 1.5 Billion to pay farmers for maize delivered so far out of the Sh 3 Billion which the government provided.

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