The price of a 2kg packet of unga is set to face uncertain days ahead after millers issued what could be interpreted as a two-day ultimatum for the government to reduce the price of maize flour if there is to be any hope of the current retail value of flour being maintained at Sh75.
According to the United Grain Millers Association (UGMA), the impact of current economic forces of supply and demand for the value chain of the milling industry as well as other factors make it untenable for the millers to maintain the price of unga at the amount recently recommended to them by Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri.
In a statement signed by the UGMA top leadership, the millers called on the government to release maize from the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) at a cheaper price than the current rates.
The statement from UGMA came against the backdrop of County Governors slamming CS Kiunjuri as well as his Treasury counterpart Henry Rotich and NCPB officials for failing to show up for a c****s meeting concerning the maize industry.
UGMA wants the bales from NCPB to be released at Ksh1400 per bag of 90kg which UGMA says was what the Agriculture CS promised in a meeting with them in September. The price is lower as against the current market value of upwards of Ksh1800, says the millers. UGMA says this flactuation has not been taken into account since the millers last met CS Kiunjuri.
UGMA said that unless the recommendation is instituted within two days from October 18, the millers will be unable to retain the current cost of unga.
“The price of maize in the market in general when we met the minister was prevailing at Ksh1,600 per bag and below. Currently, the price of maize is Ksh1,800 and above per bag of 90kg across the country. The market trend indicates the price of maize is on the increase and even at the increasing price the maize is not freely available,” said UGMA.
Transportation costs as well as the costs of premixes, power and other raw materials will also impact the unga value chain, with the association also warning that this is coming at a time when the rainy season may lead to poor quality maize and losses due to rotting and insects damages.
UGMA also wants NCPB to be restructured so as for it to be a transit point between maize farmers and millers, as well as for the government to release “blending crops to mitigate reliance of only one crop.”
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