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NCPB rules out maize price hikes to cushion buyers


 

The National Cereals and Produce Board will not increase maize prices so as to cushion Kenyans from high food prices. Estimates from millers indicate that the cost at which maize is bought accounts for up to 80 per cent of the shelf prices of maize flour.

Currently, maize flour in key supermarkets in Mombasa costs between Sh124 and Sh130. NCPD said any further increase would lead to a rise in maize flour prices.

“We cannot increase prices further because it will lead to an increase in maize flour. We are currently buying a 90-kilogramme sack of maize at Sh3,000,” said NCPB’s CEO Newton Keter.

Maize prices offered by NCPB that sold at Sh2,800 per bag two years ago are now up and retailing at Sh3,000, which is way above the market price of Sh2,300.

The Cereals Millers Association has now warned that instability in maize market prices will have a knock-on effect in the shelf prices of the country’s staple food. Speaking in Mombasa Friday, Mr Keter said there are currently 1.4 million tonnes of maize in the strategic grain reserve, and more maize stock is in the hands of farmers and millers.

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Campaigns by millers to stop NCPB from buying maize at above market rate have been boosted by a new study. NCPB officials, led by the board chairman Col (Rtd) Geoffrey Kingangi, said only six registered farmers’ bodies would benefit from subsidised fertilisers.

Over 1.6 million tonnes of subsided fertilisers worth Sh5.03 billion were despatched to farmers from Mombasa’s Export Trading Warehouse Friday. 

“Only registered farmers will benefit from the subsidised fertilisers that will sell at 60 per cent of the current market price,” said Kingangi.

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