Jogoo maize flour price rises to Sh107
The price of a two kilogramme packet of Jogoo maize flour on Tuesday increased by Sh10 to Sh107, as millers continued to report shortage of supply of the grain.
A 2kg packet of Soko flour was selling at Sh104 at Tuskys Supermarkets and Sh102 at Uchumi from Sh86 in January while Maycorn was retailing at Sh120 in Eastmatt supermarket and Sh115 at Tuskys.
The sharp price increases spell tough times for consumers as they come at a time when the cost of other household goods such as milk and horticultural produce has also gone up, piling pressure on the cost of living.
Millers insist that there is scarcity of maize in the market after some neighbouring countries restricted grain exports, forcing factories to buy the grain at the prevailing market price of Sh3,000 for a 90-kilogramme bag.
Millers were buying a 90kg bag at Sh2,300 as late as last month, with the National Cereals and Produce Board paying the same amount for the same quantity.
The government said it planned to hold talks with the millers over the new prices, saying that they were unjustified.
“It is too soon for millers to increase the price of maize, at least not for now when we are just four months into the year.
‘‘We are planning to have a meeting with them to discuss the matter,” said the Principal Secretary for agriculture Sicily Kariuki.
Ms Kariuki reckons that the country is still awash with maize from the last season’s crop that has kept the cost of the staple low in the market.
The Cereal Millers Association says speculation has led to decline of maize supplies in the market that has seen the cost of maize go up by 27 percent.
As a result, the millers argue that high cost of maize has pushed up the ex-factory price of flour from between Sh84 and Sh87 in February to beyond Sh100 this month, representing a 13 percent increase.
Kenya is a maize-deficit country and relies on stocks from other regional countries to supplement the available produce in order to satisfy its needs.
Maize prices have a big effect on inflation as it is the staple food in the country and accounts for a significant share of poor households’ budget.
Data from KNBS showed that inflation rose to 6.31 per cent in March from 5.61 per cent the previous month.