Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett and Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich address a joint press conference on the current food situation in the country on Tuesday April 4, 2017, at the Treasury Building. PHOTO: Jared Nyabuti/KNA
The price of a two-kilogramme packet maize meal is expected ease gradually from the current retail price of Ksh153 to Ksh115 after the National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich zero-rated the grain last week during the reading of the budget statement in the National Assembly.
A sustained price stabilization is expected as the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) has started releasing one million bags of maize to address the current high maize prices in the country. “The zero-rating of VAT on transport, electricity and packaging materials is now effective and has to reflect in the price of flour,” Mr Rotich said.
The National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich and his Agriculture counterpart Mr Willy Bett on Tuesday said maize NCPB started releasing the maize on Wednesday this week at Ksh3,000 per 90-kg bag from the prevailing market price of Ksh4,500.
He said that the rise of the 2kg packet of maize flour a year ago from Ksh90 to the current price of Ksh153 has increased inflation from 9.04 in February to 10.28 now. Mr Rotich said the drop in the retail prices should not take more than a week as the millers started receiving the grains on Wednesday the 5th of April.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett said that “releasing of stocks from the Strategic Food Reserve (SFR) is a short-term intervention measure that would see retail prices drop to Sh115 in the next one week.”
The two Cabinet Secretaries and the Cereal Millers Association (CMA) chairman Nick Hutchinson told a press briefing at the National Treasury that they expected the prices of the staple to be sustained for about a month until the arrival of imported maize from Ethiopia and Mexico.
CS Willy Bett said the continuous increase of maize flour was as a result of some farmers and traders hoarding the grain in order to earn more money.
He blamed the current shortage on the drought ravaging the country and also affecting some parts of the region. He assured Kenyans that the importation of maize from Mexico and from neighbouring Ethiopia would calm and set affordable price for all.
The Cereal Millers Association chairman Nick Hutchinson lauded the government’s intervention. “This move will have an impact on the cost of flour, but the price might differ from one miller to another depending on the time one will take to access maize from National Cereals and Produce Board,” Mr Hutchinson said.