You might be buying the last stock of Ksh90 maize flour, if the government keeps its promise to terminate the supply of the subsidised maize flour this month. This is likely to cause a stir in the prices to the commodity, which was retailing at between Ksh180 to Ksh220 before government intervention.
Sources indicate that Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett said the government is not willing to extend the subsidy programme in fear of an excess in the market once harvests are ready which could hurt farmers from grain growing areas.
In February, President Uhuru Kenyatta declared drought a national disaster and appealed for international aid. Consequently, finance Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich wavered tax for imported maize for four months, but this did not bring down maize flour prices, which prompted the government to introduce the subsidised maize flour through the Agriculture CS Willy Bett, which cost the government close to Ksh6 billion.
In July, the government identified 40 posho mills in Nairobi to process imported maize in a bid to maintain supply, which was not being fully achieved by the existing processing mills in the country.
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If the programme is suspended Kenyans will have to dig deeper into their pockets to afford the commodity with prices expected to shoot. Reports show that maize production might not be enough to cater for the country’s needs, with South Rift’s production expected to drop by 15%. The other hope lies with Uasin Gishu and Trans Nzoia, whose harvest will be delayed to November.
Production expected to drop to an eight-year low this year, to 28 million bags from 37 million bags in 2016, due to an armyworm invasion and erratic weather patterns.