No respite soon on flour prices - millers

A 2-kilo packet of maize maize flour is going at an average of Sh200.

In Summary

•The prices of 90-kg bag of maize jumped to Sh6,500 per bag from Sh5,200 last week spelling more pain for consumers.

•A 2-kilo packet of sifted maize flour is going by an average Sh200.

Maize flour in a supermarket shelf.
Maize flour in a supermarket shelf.
Image: FILE

Maize flour prices crossed the Sh200 mark for a two-kilo packet this week adding to the plight of Kenyans grappling the high costs of living.  

Millers have warned that prices of the staple food commodity will remain high due to the on-going shortage of maize in the country.

The prices of a 90-kg bag of maize jumped to Sh6, 500 per bag from Sh5, 200 last week.

“Processors have run out of maize for milling and we are not getting stocks from Tanzania and Uganda," Ken Nyaga, chairman of the United Grain Millers Association (UGMA) said.

He said it is going to get tough for consumers with prices expected to increase further. 

A spot check by the Star established that a two-kilo packet of sifted maize flour is retailing at an average of Sh200 while premium brands like Amaize and Hostess are now retailing at Sh204 and Sh220 respectively from Sh167 a week earlier.

A two-kilo packet of Jogoo brand is selling at Sh204, Pembe at Sh208 and Ajab is going for Sh206 from Sh150 last week .

The same product averaged Sh147.57 last month, which was an increase from Sh138.10 in April, Kenya National Bureau of Statistics inflation data, shows.

Timothy Njagi, a senior researcher at Egerton University's Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development, in a recent interview with the Star said Kenyans should brace for a continued rise of flour prices saying it is a global problem.

The high global prices have been made worse by the Russia-Ukraine war, which impacted supply chains.

Njagi warned that as millers continue to factor in the cost of production, which includes fuel, high prices would be the norm until next year. 

On May 20, the government granted a duty waiver of 540,000 metric tonnes on importation of white non-genetically modified organism maize. 

Agriculture CS Peter Munya said the three-month importation window that ends in August would help avert the shortage and cushion consumers. However this is yet to be felt. 

Even so, unga is not the only product with hiked prices, cooking oil prices have also been rising with a litre currently averaging Sh450.

Monthly inflation data by KNBS indicates Kenyans were buying cooking oil at an Sh370 last month up from Sh351 in April. The same retailed at an average of Sh252.03 in April last year.

Bread prices have also gone up by Sh10 depending on brands.

“Prices of fortified maize flour, cooking fat, cooking oil (salad) and fresh packet cow milk increased by 6.9, 6.1 5.3 and 3.7 per cent in May 2022, respectively,” KNBS director general Macdonald Obudho notes in the latest inflation update.

The rise in the price of various food basket items drove inflation to a two-year high of 7.1 per cent in May, up from 6.5 per cent in April and 5.6 per cent in March–KNBS.


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