10 November 2017

Kenya: Maize Delay at Port Signals Sh90 Flour Shortage in Shops

Offloading of subsidised maize at the Mombasa port has been delayed, raising fears of a shortage of the Sh90-a-packet flour in shops.

Millers have raised concern that they are not getting enough of the subsidised maize in what has reduced supply of the flour in the market.

Agriculture secretary Willy Bett said 1.4 million bags of maize are at the port waiting to be discharged, creating a shortage for the millers.

The delay at the Mombasa port signals a shortfall and rationing of the subsidised staple food.

Three ships carrying the last batch of 1.1 million bags of subsidised maize docked at Mombasa port before the October 26 repeat presidential and flour from the grain were expected to land in the shop shelves in the second week of November.

"The current shortage of supplies results from the fact that huge consignment of maize is stuck at the port waiting to be offloaded," said Mr Bett.

The maize cargo is equivalent to Kenya's consumption for 14 days.

Mr Bett said the market is yet to get enough stocks from the ongoing harvest in the North Rift due to rains, underling the importance of the 1.4 million bags of subsidised maize.

"We are not getting enough stocks currently at the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) as we had anticipated as the purchases have been slowed down by rains," he said.

The NCPB had by Monday purchased 150,000 bags of maize out of 2.4 million bags that it targets to replenish the Strategic Food Reserve almost a month since it opened its silos.

The government has set aside Sh7.1 billion to buy a bag at Sh3,200 from the farmers.

The Treasury ended the maize import subsidy, which started on May 16, in mid-October.

The subsidy lowered the price of a 90-kg bag of maize to Sh2,300 from above Sh4,000 with taxpayers offering importers a rebate or the difference of about Sh1,700.

The end of the subsidy and the setting the NCPB price at Sh3,200 a bag is expected to raise flour prices to Sh120.

Millers will revert to the market price of maize once they exhaust the 1.4 million bags.

They expect to buy a bag at Sh3, 400 when transport costs are factored in, forcing them to increase flour prices by Sh30 from the current Sh90.

This looks to put pressure on inflation, which fell to a 16 month low of 5.72 per cent in October, pushed by a fall in some food prices.


Nation Journalists Feted at Merck Foundation Media Awards

NTV's Namukabo Werungah, Doreen Magak, Antony Wabwoba and former station head Pamela Asigi were among the big winners at… Read more »

See What Everyone is Watching

Copyright © 2017 The Nation. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 700 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.