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September 25, 2017

Five families behind maize shortage in Kenya, Mututho claims, demands action

A file photo of Nakuru governor aspirant John Mututho. /JACK OWUOR
A file photo of Nakuru governor aspirant John Mututho. /JACK OWUOR

John Mututho claims five families are behind the maize shortage in the country that resulted in higher prices and branded packs by the government.

The former Agriculture committee chairman said the families, which he did not name, were identified while he was in Parliament.

“The five are manipulating the prices of flour despite Parliament passing the Monopolies Act. It's time the Agriculture CS took action,” he said.

Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett said on Tuesday that the government had started a subsidy programme to provide Kenyans with cheap unga. Though temporary, the move comes as a relief to many Kenyans who have been affected by the high cost of living and skyrocketing prices of maize flour.

More on this: GOK's Sh90 unga hits supermarkets but buyers limited to two packs

Also read: I will not step down, my duty is to lower prices of Unga, sugar - CS Bett

Mututho further termed the maize shortage artificial and accused cartels of traders and millers of hoarding to control prices.

The former Naivasha MP claimed on Wednesday that the cartels are in cahoots with the government.

He made the claim just a day after President Uhuru Kenyatta said this was not the case and that he would make a major announcement.

The government has supplied supermarkets with subsidised maize flour that costs Sh90 per 2kg pack. There is also the Sh6.5 billion maize subsidy programme that will involve 20 millers and the duty free importation of milk powder and sugar.

More on this: [VIDEO] Uhuru defends maize import, to make major announcement this week

Mututho asked the President to use state machinery and intelligence to unmask those behind the shortage.

“When I was in Parliament the same cartel was responsible for hoarding the commodity and later releasing it to the market at a high price,” he said.

But Mututho defended the government on the controversy surrounding the importation of maize from Mexico in a record three days.

“We have ships fully loaded with maize in Durban, South Africa, seeking a market and thus it’s possible to buy any consignment at the shortest time possible,” he said.

Read: Mexican maize was shipped from South Africa, says Transport PS

The former MP, who is eyeing Nakuru governor seat, said the matter of high commodity prices was sensitive and worrying.

He revisited the issue of the Galana irrigation scheme accusing the management of running it down.

Mututho said the scheme was one of the best ideas on addressing food insecurity by the Jubilee government and that it had high potential.

He added it had the capacity for 70bags of maize per acre but that this became impossible due to mismanagement.

“I have in the past visited the scheme. It is time the management of the National Irrigation Board, which runs the scheme, improved on productivity,” said the aspirant who has also served as Nacada chairman.

More on this: What became of Galana-kulalu?

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