Reprieve For Consumers as Maize Prices Fall By 26 Percent

By Lynnet Okumu / Published October 13, 2021 | 4:35 pm




KEY POINTS

The reduced cost of maize will come as a reprieve to thousands of Kenyans who have been struggling with the high cost of other basic items such as fuel and energy bills.


maize prices

The cost of buying maize has reduced by 26 percent in the Kenyan market. This means that the flour prices will go down because the demand by consumers is likely to drop.

The price of a 90-kilo bag of maize has dropped from Sh2,700 to Sh2,000 at the moment in the rift valley counties of Trans-Nzoia and Uasin Gishu.

Anne Mburu who is a maize trader in Trans Nzoia however says that they are now buying maize from the farmers at the gate pass at sh2000.

In Nairobi, it’s however a different case because millers claim that they still buy the maize delivered from North Rift at sh2500 arguing that the decline in demand might not necessarily have an impact on the price of the flour.

Maize is a staple food in Kenya and its availability is synonymous with food security. It contributes 3% and 12% to Kenya’s gross domestic product (GDP) and agricultural GDP, respectively (KNBS, 2019).

In addition, it accounts for 36% of caloric food intake and provides at least 72% starch, 10% protein, and 4% fat. It also supplies an energy density of 365kcal/100 g. The main maize growing areas in Kenya include Trans Nzoia, Nakuru, Uasin Gishu, and other parts of the Western and Nyanza regions.

The significance of maize as a food security crop in Kenya has necessitated the government’s intervention in the maize subsector through policies that can improve maize production and marketing. These policies have often aimed at maintaining stabilized and reasonably high maize prices as an incentive for producers to increase maize production.

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Its however saddening that there is still a rampant inflow of maize imports from Uganda, especially in western Kenya. This has always accelerated the decline in the commodity’s prices over the past years.

A two-kilo packet of Jogoo is now retailing at Sh99 down from Sh109, Soko is selling at Sh96 down from Sh104 with Mama going at Sh96.

The Ministry of Agriculture projects that maize production will drop by 20 percent this year following the delays in providing grain and the effects of the fall armyworm.

Meanwhile, Trans Nzoia and Uasin Gishu counties witnessed delayed rains during plant season, impacting negatively on germination of seed in the farms. There was also an invasion of fall armyworm in the two counties, which is also likely to affect the production.

Notwithstanding the significant role that price incentives play in its production and consumption, Kenya’s maize subsector still faces the challenge of ensuring maize prices are affordable for consumers and at the same time profitable for producers.

According to Rajan Shah, chief executive at Capwell Industries, there has been an increase in demand but is yet to reach the pre-Covid level.

“The demand is not bad at the moment but we are yet to go back to pre-Covid level,” Mr. Rajan said.

The reduced cost of maize will come as a reprieve to thousands of Kenyans who have been struggling with the high cost of other basic items such as fuel and energy bills.







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