On Wednesday, May 17, the Sh90 government-branded two-kilo packets of maize flour finally landed on supermarket shelves. But even before the day ended, some retail shops had sold out.
The subsidised flour is a relief to many Kenyans whose staple food is ugali but some are crying foul after many outlets limited a maximun of two 2kg packets per customer.
Recent months have seen prices of essential commodities such as maize flour, sugar and milk soaring, with a 2kg packet of maize flour selling at Sh150. According to Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett, most Kenyans will start getting the subsidised maize flour at the weekend.
By midday in Nairobi however, most of the Tuskys outlets had stocked the newly-priced maize flour but with a limitation of two packets per consumer.
Meanwhile, the Cereal Millers Association was quick to explain that the vanishing of maize flour from some major supermarkets’ shelves was not a reflection of a lack of maize flour in the country.
By midday on Wednesday, Naivas was yet to receive the flour, while a Nakumatt Holding limited official assured consumers that they would start buying the commodity by evening.
A crisis of its kind is hitting some retail outlets who still have the old stock of maize flour. According to the stores, they say the subsidised maize flour means they’re facing millions of shillings in losses.
Naivas MD David Kimani said yesterday they have 1,500 bales of the old stock, but have already started receiving the Sh90 maize flour.
“We do not know what to do with this maize flour bearing in mind that we bought it at Sh138 per 2kg packet from the suppliers. If we sell this at Sh90, we will go at a Sh50 loss per 2kg packet. This will be a huge loss,” he told the Star.