Distribution of subsidized maize to millers is set to end on September 30th as the harvest season approaches.
The volumes distributed to millers have slowly started to be reduced so as not to interfere with the current price for the cereal which is expected to continue up to the time when farmers from high maize producing areas in the country will harvest.
According to the Cabinet Secretary of Agriculture Willy Bett, the government has reduced the quantity of maize to a two-day stock equivalent to ensure millers are not left with excess cereals in their premises upon withdrawal of the subsidy scheme.
The government has since May been supplying millers with huge stocks of heavily subsidized maize grain to enable them to produce flour at the retail price of 90 shillings per two-kilogram packet.
“Starting next week, we shall limit quantities of maize sold to millers to levels that can fully be milled in two days. We don’t want to create a scenario where they will have stashed huge pile of cheap grain when the program ends,” said Bett.
He said the move was to ensure millers do not take advantage of cheap government maize to distort market prices once the subsidy window closes.
The ministry of Agriculture has also asked the Kenya Revenue Authority to audit all millers at the end of the scheme to ascertain grain stock at their premises.
Bett disclosed that millers who will be found with excess stocks of cheap maize would have to reimburse the government the cost incurred on subsidy.
The ministry has since fixed a meeting with millers and farmers to discuss its planned exit from the grains market.
The Cabinet Secretary also noted that the onset of short crop harvest from South Rift would stabilize the market.
Maize Production this year was projected to drop from 37 million bags that were realized last year to 28 million bags in this year’s harvest due to an infestation of army worms in some of the key maize producing regions in the country.