• Owino said surveillance teams have been dispatched across the country to bring to book those involved in the hoarding.
• Out of Sh4 billion released by the government to facilitate the programme, the PS said, Sh256.7 million has been paid to 122 millers.
The government has formed a multi-agency team to crackdown on unscrupulous traders hoarding subsidised maize flour.
Crops Development and Agricultural Research PS Francis Owino said the country has enough maize flour and stocks following an agreement signed with millers.
He termed the shortage of flour in parts of the country artificial.
Some retailers and wholesalers, he said, were stockpiling flour in anticipation of higher prices, dealing a blow to the government’s directive to enhance access to the product.
“This flour is meant for consumption, not storage. We have enough stocks therefore just buy what is enough for you,” the PS said.
Owino said surveillance teams have been dispatched across the country to bring to book those involved in the hoarding.
“We are going to engage all government machinery to ensure that all traders hoarding the subsidised maize flour are arrested and prosecuted,” he said.
Out of Sh4 billion released by the government to facilitate the programme, the PS said, Sh256.7 million has been paid to 122 millers to ensure Kenyans access maize flour at Sh100.
The money, he said, is expected to hit the accounts of the millers on Monday.
Owino said an additional Sh500 million pending bill dating back to 2017 was also being processed.
He attributed the shortage of the commodity in supermarkets to credit arrangements which were unfriendly to the millers.
“Supermarkets don’t buy maize flour in cash. They are supplied to sell and pay after 45 days. Therefore, millers are finding it difficult to supply the subsidised maize flour to them,” Owino said.
The government, he said, was engaging supermarkets' umbrella body to shorten the duration of payment.
Speaking in Kisumu on Sunday during an inspection tour of the boarded millers in the area, Owino said the challenges experienced during the launch of the programme have been addressed.
He urged members of the public to be on the lookout and report any trader selling the flour above Sh100.
The four-week subsidy, he said, has gone a long way to cushion Kenyans against the high prices of the commodity.
“We have enough stocks and we are expecting to harvest soon and this will help stabilise the prices,” he said.
Owino said the government will review the programme after four weeks and make a decision on the way forward to ensure that Kenyans continue to have access to the essential commodity.