PROJECTION

Maize prices to remain stable until December

Miller says there is enough harvest from the North Rift region.

In Summary

• As of today, a 90kg bag of maize in the country is selling at an average of between Sh2,600 and Sh2,700.

• A bale of maize flour is selling at between Sh1,000 and Sh1100, while a 2kg packet of maize flour is retailing at an average of Sh90.   

Erick Ndiema in his maize plantation in Trans Nzoia
Erick Ndiema in his maize plantation in Trans Nzoia
Image: Emmanuel Sabuni
Maize is dried at Nyametaburo market in Kuria East.
Maize is dried at Nyametaburo market in Kuria East.
Image: KNA

Maize prices remain stable despite the ongoing drought affecting 23 arid and semi-arid counties.

As of Monday, a 90kg bag of maize was selling at an average of between Sh2,600 and Sh2,700.

Kennedy Nyaga, chairman of the United Grain Millers Association, an umbrella of small-scale millers, said on Monday they expect prices to remain stable until the year ends.

“We have enough maize in the country coming from the long rains harvest in the North Rift region. There is also maize coming into the country from Uganda and Tanzania,” he told the Star on the phone.

He said the purchasing power has been increasing and small-scale millers who had closed up shop last year are reestablishing business.

“The Covid-19 pandemic led to low purchasing power after the government imposed a lockdown. This affected many millers who were forced to close their milling facilities due to low demand for unga. But, we are now recording tremendous growth in purchasing power of unga from the supermarkets,” Nyaga said.  

A bale of maize flour is selling at between Sh1,000 and Sh1,100, while premium unga is selling at between Sh1,200 and Sh1,400. A 2kg packet of maize flour is retailing at an average of Sh90.   

But across East Africa, maize prices in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda remain on an upward trend, according to the Food Security Monitoring report released by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

The report said poor seasonal and erratic rainfalls, floods and desert locusts hurt crop and animal production in the three countries, thus adversely affecting price movements.

“Conflicts and insecurity in certain parts of the region and Covid-19-related restrictions have impacted trade flows, driving up food prices,” the report says.

The food security monitoring report revealed that Kenyan cross-border traders have expressed concern and fears that increasing insecurity along the Northern Corridor and rising political temperatures ahead of next year's general election might heavily hurt the Mombasa Port business.

“Kenyan truck drivers have announced that they are ready to resume operations to South Sudan after a two-week boycott over security concerns on the country’s highways,” AGRA says.

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network showed that household food stocks remain significantly below average across the marginal agricultural areas following the below-average March to May long rain production.

The early warning bulletin stated that household food stocks are expected to last through September-October compared to the typical November-December.

According to the Kenya Food Security Steering Group (KFSSG) 2021 long rain assessment, the production of maize and pulses (green grams and cowpeas) ranged from 39 to 58 per cent below average in the southeast, while in the coastal marginal agricultural areas, production of maize and pulses was 11-30 per cent below average.

“The below-average household food stocks are continuing to drive atypically high market dependence for food,” the bulletin said.