Why Raila’s numbers on maize prices are wrong


On his campaign trail in Bungoma County last weekend NASA party flag bearer and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga claimed that the Jubilee administration was to blame for the maize crisis by cutting the incomes of Kenyan farmers.

“In 2012 farmers were getting sh3, 200 for one bag of maize,” stated Mr. Odinga. “The Jubilee administration cut this down to sh2, 200 and have refused to heed the cries of farmers to review the price upwards.”

This according to Mr. Odinga was the reason farmers opted to shy away from planting maize leading to a shortage that forced the country to turn to imports.

Mr. Odinga added that the Jubilee government “is wiling to pay Mexican farmers Sh4, 600 but won’t pay Kenyan farmers,” in apparent reference to the maize subsidy announced last month.

According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, (KNBS), the price of a 100kg bag of maize in 2012 was sh3, 396. Data from the statistics office over the last five years indicates that the price paid out to farmers dropped marginally to sh3, 318 in 2014. Last year the price had further dropped to sh2, 968, a 13 per cent drop from the price five years ago.

Raila’s claim that the price paid out to Kenyan farmers has reduced by 31 per cent is therefore not true.

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At the same time, data from the Food and Agricultural Organization, FAO, indicates that the wholesale price of white maize last month stood at 4.5pesos per kg (sh25per kg). This translates to sh2, 250 for a 90kg bag of maize at the same prices.

The opposition leader’s other claim that the government is paying Mexican farmers sh4, 600 for a bag of maize is also incorrect going by current maize price indexes.

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