• Another consignment of 64, 000 metric tonnes is expected to arrive in the country before the end of the month.
• Millers have been given until end of July to import two million bags of maize until local farmers begin to harvest.
A total of 88,000 tonnes of imported maize from Mexico has arrived at the Port of Mombasa, millers have said.
The batch consists 44,000 tonnes of yellow maize and 44,000 tonnes of white maize.
Paloma Fernandes, the CEO of Cereal Millers Association, confirmed on Monday that another consignment of 64,000 tonnes is due to arrive before the end of the month. She spoke to the Star on the phone.
Millers have been given until end of July to import two million bags of maize until local farmers begin to harvest.
The government had given millers a window for importation until May but Agriculture CS Peter Munya extended the period to July to give millers enough time to source for maize.
The move came after millers expressed concern that they could not get maize from the neighbouring countries, and needed to get it from Mexico.
“Importing maize from Mexico would take about two months to get it shipped in the country, hence the extension till July,” Munya said.
He, however, said after that, they will not be allowed to import maize as the long rains harvest from Western and South Rift regions will start coming into the market.
The CS confirmed that only licensed millers will be allowed to import maize and the two million bags will be imported equally by the large-scale millers and the small-scale millers.
In April, millers had asked the government to waive the 14 per cent duty on the maize being imported from Mexico. This is after Munya explained that the white maize from outside the Comesa trading bloc would attract a duty of 14 per cent for white maize down from 50 per cent and 10 per cent for yellow maize.
But millers wanted the waiver to ensure stability of unga prices, especially during this Covid-19 pandemic.
Agriculture PS Hamadi Boga said even with the 14 per cent duty, millers will still be able to buy maize at the current global market price and that of Comesa and EAC regions.
He said even if the price of a bag of maize gets to the Port of Mombasa at Sh3,000, the price of a two-kilo packet of maize flour should still retail at between Sh120 and Sh130.
Kennedy Nyaga, the chairman of the United Grains Millers Association, said the imported maize will be selling at Sh3,200 for a 90kg bag when it gets to the Port of Mombasa. The price will increase to Sh3,500 in Nairobi and about Sh3,700 in Nakuru.
“Millers are still mopping up the little maize being held by farmers at Sh3,200 to Sh3,000. But demand for maize flour in the country is very low. This is because the purchasing power has gone down due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.
Edited by A.N