16 April 2018

Kenya: Maize Flour Set to Cost More Over Failed Early Crop

Kenyans are likely to pay a premium for maize flour following failure of the early crop which normally supplements the main harvest.

The short rain crop failed in Eastern due to insufficient rain in the last quarter of 2017 according to the Cereal Growers Association (CGA).

CGA chief executive Anthony Kioko said the region supplies about five million bags of maize but the drought cut the harvest to one million bags.

"The short-rain crop did not perform well because of poor rain which had a negative effect on production," said Mr Kioko.

This is a repeat of what happened in 2016 when the short rain crop failed, leading to higher prices of the staple last year.

The short-rain crop is grown in Eastern, parts of the South Rift and Western. The situation might worsen given that maize production last year dropped to 32 million bags from 38 million the previous year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture.

The price of a two-kilo packet of flour rose to Sh150 last year following a shortage, forcing the government to intervene through a subsidy programme that lowered the cost to Sh90.

The programme ended last December and the maize flour price rallied to a high of Sh115 per two-kilo packet.

The maize price has since dropped with a 90-kilo bag being sold at Sh2,300 from Sh3,000 in January.

A two-kilo packet of Jimbi flour retails at Sh98 from Sh101, Kifaru Sh99 from Sh104, Soko Sh100 from Sh104, Pembe Sh100 from Sh106 and Jogoo Sh101 from Sh105.The grain supply improved in recent days on imports from neighbouring Uganda and Tanzania.

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