The National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) has set the stage for competition for maize in the market with a price review that has pushed the cost of a 90-kilogramme bag from Sh2,500 to Sh2,700.
NCPB made the reviews after it failed to get more supplies from farmers, three weeks after it opened its depots for purchase of grain.
As at last week, it had only bought slightly over 2,000 bags as farmers shunned the board to sell their maize to traders and millers who have been offering slightly higher than what the NCPB is paying.
"We urge all farmers with maize that meet the required quality standards to deliver their grain," said the agency.
Millers were paying up to Sh2,600 for a 90 kilo bag of maize.
The board opened its doors last year in December for supplies, after failing to purchase maize in 2019 from growers.
However, unlike other years, the grain handler is buying maize for its commercial purposes and not for Strategic Grain Reserve (SFR) as has been the case before.
Farmers delivering maize that meets the required quality standards are having their payment processed within 24 hours upon delivery.
"We are therefore encouraging farmers to bring in their maize to NCPB and get value for their crop," said the agency.
Rice and beans
The board is buying maize under its commercial wing for trading alongside other grains such as rice and beans.
Previously the State had been buying maize through NCPB for the SFR stocks, which needs to have a minimum of three million bags for emergence use in times of famine.
The maize is normally released to millers at lower cost in order to check the rising cost of maize flour to protect consumers.
The Ministry of Agriculture released the entire stocks that was in SFR last year to millers after the price of flour rose to a historic high of Sh130 for a two-kilo packet.
Millers have already warned of tight supply of maize in the market come next month, arguing that the move will see the cost of flour go up.