Fred Kibor admires sorghum at the Kenya Seed Company exhibition farm in Eldoret. Farmers have been challenged to opt for alternative crop farming instead of over reliance on maize farming alone. Soil experts have noted that the most commonly used DiAmmonium Phosphate (DAP) has made soil acidic which in turn has reduced crop production volumes. 04-04-2017. PHOTO BY: KEVIN TUNOI
The price of a two-kilogramme packet of maize flour is expected to fall to Sh115 in a week after the National Treasury zero-rated the grain took effect.
The Ministry of Agriculture also released one million 90-kg bags of the commodity which they said would be sold to traders at a subsidised price of Sh3, 000, thus bringing down the cost of maize by “some margin”, according to Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich.
Currently, a 90-kg bag of maize is selling at Sh4, 400 as the country grapples with scarcity of maize.
Moreover, millers’ cost of production is expected to reduce by between Sh3 and 5 after the zero-rating of all all inputs used to produce maize flour such as transport, energy and packaging takes effect immediately.
This should come as a huge relief to most ordinary Kenyans who have been struggling with high food prices, especially ugali, which is a staple in most households.
“The drop in the price of a 2kg packet of maize flour should not take more than a week, depending on how fast the millers take maize from the NCPB (National Cereals and Produce Board),”said Rotich in a press conference yesterday that was also attended by his counterpart in the Ministry of Agriculture, Willy Bett and representatives of millers.
Mr Bett said the one million bags, out of 1.5 million in the strategic grain reserves, would last the country for at least a month.
Afterwards, he said Kenyans would start enjoying duty-free white maize from Mexico, which Bett said some millers had already started ordering.
“We have agreed with millers that by early next week, the price of maize should start to go down,” said Bett, adding that the imported maize should start arriving into the country in a month’s time.
With imports from Uganda and Tanzania already depressed following poor harvests, Kenya is now looking at – besides Mexico – Ethiopia to plug its deficit of maize.
“Maize from Ethiopia will get in cheaply if there is Government intervention,” said Nick Hutchinson, the chairman of Kenya Association of Millers.