The government through the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) has released two million bags of 90 kilogrammes of maize from the Strategic Food Reserve.
This is meant to cushion consumers against escalating food prices with the current maize flour retailing at Sh. 115 to Sh. 120.
This will mean that Maize flour prices will drop significantly as from next week by about 10 per cent to Sh.110
According to the Value chain players if the maize is released by early next week, flour prices are likely to drop.
In an advertisement published on Thursday in a local daily, State Department for Crop Development in the Ministry of Agriculture Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation the prices for grades fit for human and animal consumption will be Sh. 2.300 and Sh. 1400 per 90 kg bag respectively.
The two million bags of maize to be released by NCPB will however be subject to the availability of stock, according to the advert.
In the local market, currently a 90 kg of maize is retailing at Sh.3, 000 from Sh.3, 400 last month in most of the markets.
According to the NCPB Acting Managing Director Zakary Magara, the released quantity is part of the 3.5 million bags the government had agreed to release early this month to tame the skyrocketing maize prices.
The United Grain Millers Association Chairman (UGMA), Peter Kuguru confirmed in a phone interview that if the maize is released by early next week, prices of flour is expected to drop by around Sh.10 per packet.
The release of the maize confirms the Cabinet views that had directed in January the Strategic Food Reserve Oversight Board (SFR) to release two million bags from the previous stocks to free up space and create room for the purchase of last season’s crop.
According to the advertisement, stringent conditions for eligibility to purchase the maize will have been set out with only millers who will have submitted requisite documents to the Ministry being eligible to buy the maize stock.
Posho millers with confirmation letters from the area Chief and forwarded by the Deputy County Commissioner will also benefit together with schools and other institutions who also have introductory letters from the respective County ‘Education or relevant county offices.
Maize, according to the advertisement, will only be collected after payment of the equivalent stock that players have applied for in the provided account.
By Wangari Ndirangu