The Government has warned millers who are planning to hike maize flour prices up to double the subsidized price, giving a directive that no 2kg packet of flour no matter the brand should rise beyond sh. 115.
According to the Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture Willy Bett who was speaking at the Galana irrigation scheme on Wednesday, the Government was buying maize for Sh3,200 per 90kg bag yet millers were getting the same for a much cheaper price so there was no reason to abnormally increase the price. “Most millers are buying maize at around Sh2,700 so the cost of flour should never go beyond Sh115 because the amount of money we are paying as Government is Sh3,200; As Government we have stabilized the cost of maize and ensured it does not go beyond that ” ,said Mr Bett.
Additionally, the Agricultural CS maintained that even with calculated profit for the millers and retailers the price of a 2kg packet of maize flour cannot go beyond Sh150 let alone the alleged constant. “We will take all interventions available to us. We have strategic reserve to stabilise prices and if that is not enough the idea of bringing maize from outside the region is also available,” he added.
On the same note, the CS said if retailers and millers continued to charge supernormal prices, the Government would intervene and take appropriate and unspecified measures to them. “The Government is monitoring and we are willing to take intervention measures we have on our sleeves to curtail the situation,” he said.
Apparently, Mr Bett was responding to Peter Kuguru, the chairman of United Grain Millers Association, who told a section of the media earlier this month that the price of a 2kg packet of maize flour could go up to Sh200 by March due to the government withdrawal of its subsidy adding that the available maize could only last until next month thus leading to lack of maize resulting to the rise of prices.
However, differed with the utterances, saying the maize subsidy that ran for seven and a half months was the biggest investment by the Government to protect consumers from the abnormal shoot up of flour prices.