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Homa Bay residents fault Ruto on Unga, gorogoro prices in State address

A section of Homa Bay residents have differed with President William Ruto’s comment on the price of maize flour (Unga).

In his State of the Nation address delivered at Parliament on November 9, 2023, President Ruto attributed the reduced Unga prices the subsidised fertilizer program to farmers.

In turn, the Head of State said the fertilizer had increased production by about 18 million bags.

“We rolled out a countrywide farmer registration and fertiliser subsidy programme that has made available 5.5 million bags to farmers across Kenya. We have progressively reduced the cost of fertiliser from KSh6,500 to KSh2,500, increased maize acreage under production by an extra 200,000 acres and enhanced maize production by an additional 18 million bags,” said the President.

According to the Head of State, a two kilograms bag of maize is selling at between Sh 145 to Sh175 down from Sh250 a few months ago.

“As a result of these interventions, today, a 2kg packet of maize flour is selling at a low of KSh145 and a high of KSh175 depending on the brand down from KSh250. A Gorogoro of maize is selling at between KSh60 and KSh75.”

But some residents of Homa Bay accused the President of misleading the nation about the price of maize.

Mr Raymond Obonyo, a security guard maintained the Head of State had shared wrong information.

“He might have been given wrong information by his advisors and did not bother to fact check. The reality on the ground is that maize prices are still high,” he said.

A spot check by Nairobi News in Homa Bay indicates that maize at the municipal market is sold at Sh 130 per gorogoro (tin).

That is a slight reduction from Sh150 a few months back.

Food kiosk vendors also blamed the President for failing to lower the cost of maize.

Ms Diana Obonyo, a food kiosk operator in Homa Bay town said she lost some of her customers who were comparing the small quantity of ugali.

“Promise on cheaper flour is something the president has been giving for months. Instead of the promises going down, it keeps rising,” she said.

A spot check by Nairobi News revealed the cheapest maize is sold at sh 153 for a 2 kilograms packet.

The highest is Sh 318.

Homa Bay Giant Traders Association Chairman Jack Nyambega said maize prices are determined by several factors including production and demand.

Farmers in Homa Bay are among beneficiaries of subsided fertiliser.

Mr Nyambega said if the fertiliser were not used well, farmers will fail to get good yield which in turn affect prices.

“Maize costs more in towns where there is no production. The prices may be lower at the village because a lot of people have maize,” he said.

Homa Bay also hosts a milling plant, Kigoto Maize milling factory that has been in operation since November last year.

It buys maize at Sh 150.

Mr Nyambega said farmers would prefer to take their produce there and get instant cash.

He said operations of this factory alos set maize prices in the county.

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