Kenyans received the news they’ve been waiting for for what seemed liked eons, after it was announced on Tuesday, May 16, that a 2kg packet of maize flour will retail at Sh90.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett said via a press conference that the government has entered into a subsidy programme in partnership with importers and millers who will buy a 90kg bag of maize for Sh2,300.
The smaller pack (1 Kg) will now retails at Sh47. The new prices was effected on Tuesday until the harvest season. The price of a 2 kg packet had shot up to Sh150 in the last six months.
According to the government, it has resorted to importing maize and selling it to millers at Sh2,300 to tame the rising cost of the commodity.
Before the imported grains arrived in the market, a 90kg bag went for Sh4,620, compared to the region’s Sh4,300 price tag.
Bett went on to add that the imported maize is supposed to cost Sh3,600 a 90kg bag, but the cost has been subsidised by the government.
“The government will inject not more than Sh6 billion into the subsidised programme to cushion farmers against the high cost of living,” the CS said adding that the programme is meant to stabilise the market.
The State put out a public notice on the drought alleviation programme which it says will go a long way to reverse the rise in prices of maize flour which is the key ingredient in making ugali, Kenya’s staple food.
Twenty millers are participating in the programme that has been christened #BambaUngaNa90Bob.
According to Agriculture PS Richard Lesiyampe, the current maize stock stands at 980,000 bags which will last until the end of the month.
During an interview on Citizen TV on Tuesday evening, Deputy President William Ruto defended the move by the government to import five million bags of maize until the end of July at a cost of KShs 6 billion.
The first consignment of maize from Mexico arrived in the country last week and according to the Cereal Millers Association, another ship is expected to dock at the Port of Mombasa in three weeks.
“We expect to import 2.9 million bags of maize in June and 1.2 million in July,” Lesiyampe noted.