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The aroma of ugali rises as maize supplies improve

Improving maize flour supplies are providing succour to lovers of the staple with retailers saying millers are delivering on their orders unlike a few weeks ago.

Some traders are now allowing customers to buy more than the initial two packets, which had been set as the maximum.

“There has been a great improvement on supplies of the flour from millers. We are now receiving more bales compared than in previous months,” said Mr Willy Kimani, chief operations officer at Naivas Supermarket.

Mr Kimani said though there are better stocks, the retailer will still limit consumers to two packets until that time when the situation will normalise fully. However, he acknowledged that the rationing might not be working well as customers buy and come back for more.

A spot-check on Thursday and Friday showed there was maize flour at Naivas and Tuskys supermarkets throughout the day.

READ: WERE: Blame devolution for Kenya’s falling food production

Situation normalised

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett had hinted early in the week that the situation would normalise within a fortnight.

Mr Bett made the announcement as he received 335,000 bags of Mexican maize at the Mombasa port last week. Three more ships were expected to land on Friday.

The CS said he met with millers and they made a commitment to lower prices following an improvement in maize stocks.

At least 2.8 million bags of maize will be imported by July 31 even as the government targets five million bags by end of August.

READ: State targets cassava as maize production falls

A two-kilogramme packet of maize flour is retailing at Sh90 after the government intervened through a subsidy. Before then, customers were paying as much as Sh160 for the same quantity.

Unga prices are expected to drop further when the short rains crop from the South Rift starts reaching the market next month. This will be followed by the main crop in November and December.

But the country will not be out of the woods yet as production is projected to drop to an eight-year low courtesy of erratic weather and pests’ invasion.

The combination will be setting the stage for yet another round of expensive unga next year.

READ: Flour crisis as maize harvest at 8-year low

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