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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Kenyans eating more ugali to blame for unga shortage – CS

Packets of subsidised maize flour on display at a supermarket in Nairobi. /Victor Imboto
Packets of subsidised maize flour on display at a supermarket in Nairobi. /Victor Imboto
The government has moved to diversify transportation of imported white maize to ease the biting shortage.
Agriculture CS Willy Bett attributed the unga shortage to a recent shift by Kenyans to consume more ugali since prices were subsidised.
Bett said the transportation will ensure imported maize is moved to the millers immediately it gets to Mombasa.
He witnessed the arrival of 12,000 bags through the Rift Valley Railways yesterday. “To ensure every Kenyan enjoys the Sh90 subsidised maize flour, all maize from Mombasa will be removed using SGR, RVR and trucks,” Bett said. In two weeks, the market has been experiencing a shortage of unga. “Since we started the subsidised programme, we have witnessed more Kenyans preferring unga, thus the high demand for maize flour,” he said.
So far 1.2 million bags of imported white maize have been distributed since early May when the government launched the Sh6 billion subsidy programme. The remaining 3.8 million bags will be imported between now and end of July. Before the end of this month, three ships carrying 114,000 tonnes will be received at the port. Bett said the government will improve efficiency in moving the maize from Mombasa to other parts of the country to tame the shortage.
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