Unscrupulous business people in Nakuru, Nyandarua and Samburu counties are repackaging the subsidised maize flour and re-selling it at higher prices in spite of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s warning against the practice.
Some traders have invented ways of making a kill out of the scarcity of the cheaper maize meal in supermarkets in Nakuru and Nyandarua.
They repackage and re-sell the Sh90 two-kilogramme packet at between Sh100 and Sh115.
On Saturday, while on a campaign tour of Nakuru, President Kenyatta warned traders, whom he said were hoarding the flour meant to cushion Kenyans from the high cost of food, of dire consequences.
Ms Jackline Moraa, a resident of Ranges View Estate in Nakuru Town, said she was forced to buy the re-packaged flour as she has no option.
“Local kiosk owners are cashing in on the subsidised flour,” said Ms Moraa.
Mr Geoffrey Kariuki said they had the same problem in Ol Kalou Town, Nyandarua.
“I don’t see the purpose of the subsidy,” said Mr Kariuki. “Some traders are sabotaging government efforts to cushion mwananchi from high food prices.”
A spot check by the Nation at leading supermarkets and food outlets in Nakuru and Nyandarua revealed limited stocks.
In Samburu, residents are yet to enjoy the cheap flour.
Among the areas yet to receive the flour are Baragoi in Samburu North and Wamba (Samburu East), as well as Archers post and Maralal in Samburu Central.
PRICE STILL HIGH
Mr Stephen Kariuki, a miller in Maralal Town, said the price of maize was still high.
“As business people, we are still waiting for the new stocks of the cheap flour,” said Mr Kariuki. “We only hear in the media that there are counties and towns that have received the commodity but in Samburu we are yet to see it.”
Supermarkets and food outlets in Maralal Town were selling a 2kg packet of maize flour at Sh200 while in Baragoi and Samburu East it was Sh250.
Ms Lilian Ekiru from Loikas Village in Samburu Central said her family was forced to skip meals due to the high cost of living.
“Life has become hard with almost every commodity being expensive,” said Mrs Ekiru. “Flour still retails at a high prices.”
Governor Moses Lenolkulal however said the county was co-ordinating with the Ministry of Agriculture to have the commodity available.
“This is a double tragedy to the people of Samburu, especially after the area was hit by a severe drought,” said Mr Lenolkulal.
Reports by Eric Matara, Steve Njuguna and Godfrey Oundo