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Friday, August 18, 2017

State receives 1.2 million bags of maize, millers to get it via SGR

Agriculture CS Willy Bett receives maize imported from Mexico at the Port of Mombasa, May 12, 2017. /FILE
Agriculture CS Willy Bett receives maize imported from Mexico at the Port of Mombasa, May 12, 2017. /FILE

The government has received an additional 1.2 million bags of maize to cushion Kenyans from the excruciating unga shortage.

Agriculture CS Willy Bett did not specify the country of origin in an address to journalists on Monday but reiterated the shortage will be addressed effectively.

"We are seeing the end of the challenge of flour shortage. We are expecting over 3.8 million bags of maize over the coming days," he said.

Noting logistical issues, the CS said the consignment will be transported to millers through the Standard Gauge Railway.

A one-stop logistics centre has been opened in Mombasa for distribution of the imported white maize.

"It will be easy for millers to get it from the train because the distance will be narrowed," he said.

[STATEMENT] Raila gives Uhuru notice on unga, urges long-term end to crisis

But the Cabinet Secretary noted many lorries are required to transport the maize to millers.

"Since there is only one point of evacuation, we will always experience congestion," he exlained.

He noted they are prioritising white maize, wheat and rice, and that the government will work with local posho mills.

"Later on, we will deal with yellow maize," he said.

The shortage of flour, which has lasted for some months, saw commodity retail at Sh150 for a 2kg pack, forcing the government to introduce the Sh90 subsidised flour.

But many Kenyans have complained they cannot find the flour as the stock runs out in just a few hours.

In most supermarkets, buyers are only allowed to take two packets while other retailers compel consumers to buy the flour with other goods.

More on this: State introduces GOK branded unga, 2kg pack to retail at Sh90

Also read: Cops arrest four found repackaging subsidised unga in Bungoma church

On Saturday, Opposition leader Raila Odinga accused the Jubilee administration of creating a food crisis to manipulate Kenyans ahead of August polls.

Speaking in Maua town during his Meru tour, Raila said the unga crisis is one of the ruling entity's scheme to sources campaign cash.

More on this: Uhuru, Ruto created unga crisis to get campaign cash - Raila

The shortage of subsidised flour has become a major campaign issue as the opposition piles pressure on state officials to explain the shortage.

Read:Unga fury greets Uhuru, Ruto during Kilifi tour

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