Maize prices in Kenya have maintained an upward trajectory despite increased inflows of the produce from the neighbouring countries.

Maize Kenya imports hundreds of metric tonnes of the staple from Tanzania and Uganda every day through cross-border trade.
Data from Regional Agricultural Trade Intelligence Network (Ratin), a software run by Eastern African Grain Council that monitors cross-border trade across East Africa Community, show that an average of 1,200 metric tonnes (MT) of maize crosses into Kenya from Uganda each day.

However, these imports have not helped to bring down the cost of the produce consumed by millions of Kenyan residents. A 90kg bag of the commodity is currently being sold at between 28 U.S. dollars and 36 dollars.
In the capital Nairobi, a 90kg bag of the produce is going for 34 dollars, up from an average of 30 dollars four months ago. Prices have been on a steady rise since April.

The cost of the produce stands at 36 dollars in the coastal city of Mombasa, which like Nairobi mainly relies on food imports from other regions. Prices are equally high in the lakeside city of Kisumu where a bag is going at 35 dollars.
Maize traders in the capital Nairobi blamed the increase to low supply.

“It is becoming increasingly difficult to buy maize from our sources in Nakuru and Eldoret because prices have gone up. Two months ago I would buy a bag at 28 dollars but right now I have to part with at least 32 dollars,” Fred Kipruto, a posho mill operator in Nairobi, said on Tuesday.

Kipruto is selling a 2kg tin of maize at 1.02 dollars, up from 0.96 dollars months ago. Many Kenyans are now sourcing maize flour from mill traders like Kipruto because prices are lower.

With the cost of dry maize on the rise, millers in the East African nation have consequently pushed up the price of flour, with a 2kg packet in retail outlets going at between 0.98 and 1.1 dollars depending on the brand, up from 0.92 dollars in May.

In April, the Ministry of Agriculture in bid to tame rising maize prices announced that it would sell the produce directly to millers at 28 dollars.

Acting Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohammed blamed the rising prices on hoarding of maize and cartel-like activities in the sector, noting that the country had enough supply as farmers then held 5.1 million bags, traders 2.3 million, millers 2.4 million and the cereals board 4.1 million bags.

The move seems to have yielded little fruit if the rising cost of the commodity is anything to go by.
Kenyans consume an average of four million bags of maize per month, according to the ministry, thus, a rise in prices of the commodity hits many families hard, with inflation currently standing at 7.03 percent in July, up from 6.87 percent. Enditem


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