27 May 2019

Kenya: Millers to Get Cheap Maize in Bid to Check Rising Unga Prices

The government says it has released two million bags of cheap maize to millers to help arrest rising prices of flour.

The grains have been released from the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) under the subsidy flour programme amid stringent vetting conditions to weed out cartels.

Strategic Food Reserve board Chairman Noah Wekesa disclosed that registered and operational millers will be allocated the maize after undergoing rigorous vetting.

"We will not compromise on the specified conditions since it is meant to facilitate transparency and weed out cartels from infiltrating the supply chain," Dr Wekesa said on Sunday.

MILLERS FEARS

But some of the millers have expressed fears of missing out in the cheap maize due to the scrutiny and are contemplating moving to court.

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They want some of the conditions including clearance by chiefs and ward administrators relaxed to speed up the release of the maize from NCPB stores.

According to the new regulations, the millers are required to fill an application form for maize sale by the Strategic Food Reserve Oversight Board, detailing their area of operation-from village to county level, miller association/group, membership number and quantity of maize they intent to purchase.

A miller is also required to state the preferred NCPB depot from where to collect the maize.

OWNERSHIP DOCUMENTS

The millers' details and ownership documents will have to be verified by the ward administrator and the local chief who will confirm the location of the milling plant.

The Strategic Food Reserve Oversight Board will approve the documents before NCPB releases the certified quantity of maize to the miller.

"It is paramount that the millers adhere to the regulations to weed out fraudsters who are out to benefit from the scheme," said Dr Wekesa.

It is only registered large scale millers who would be allowed to import maize and sell to their small scale counterparts to cover for the deficit.

Maize flour prices have increased from Sh85 to Sh115 for a two-kilogramme packet due to shortage of grains in the market.

The prices had hit Sh3,400 in March but has dropped to Sh2,800 per 90 kilogrammes bag due to imports from Tanzania.

The government also plans to open maize imports in July once the current stock is exhausted to ensure a steady supply in the market.

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