• Millers have 14 days to collect 1.9 million bags of maize released by the Strategic Food Reserve Board before long rains harvest start coming in.
Kenyans may have to wait longer to buy unga at less that Sh120.
This is because maize supply in the market has not stabilised despite the 1.9 million bags of maize released to millers by the Strategic Food Reserve, and the inflows coming from Tanzania and Uganda.
But Agriculture Chief Administrative Secretary Andrew Tuimur has assured Kenyans that prices of Unga will start coming down once the long rain harvest starts getting into the market from September to October.
A spot check by the Star yesterday showed that a two-kilo packet of maize flour is currently selling at between Sh120 to Sh124.
Kennedy Nyaga, chairman of the United Grain Millers Association, told the Star that the second allocation of 1.9 million bags of maize released by SFR at Sh2, 700 per 90 kg is expensive, and they have to blend with clean maize because it is discolored.
Nyaga said because of this, some millers are now preferring to buy maize from traders at between Sh2, 800 to Sh2, 900.
“A 90 kg bag of maize from Uganda is selling at Sh2, 800, though much of the produce is still wet, with high moisture content of between 14 to 17 contrary to the required limit of 12.5 to 13. The maize coming from Tanzania is selling at a maximum price of Sh3, 500 and it is of low quality,” Nyaga said.
The chairman further pointed out that most millers are within Thika and Nairobi and they have been allocated maize in Eldama Ravine or Kisumu.
“This distance is far so by the time the maize gets to Nairobi, a miller will have spent Sh3, 100 on the same bag due to the transport logistics. But we hope things will change when farmers start selling maize in October,” he said.
Tuimur said the projected maize harvest for the long rains season is about 33 million bags. This is a decrease of about 11 million bags from last year's harvest which was at 44 million bags.
“The decrease is attributed to a decline in the acreage under maize production this year because there was a delay in the rains,” Tuimur said.