Start of January Woes as Millers Announce Hike in Maize Flour Prices

An image of maize flour
A file photo of maize flour on display at a supermarket in Nairobi.

Kenyans have been warned to brace themselves for tough times in January even as the price of maize flour is expected to shoot through the roof.

While addressing the media on January 4, the millers explained that there was an increasing demand for the commodity after the festive season.

Led by Unga Millers Association chairperson, Ken Nyaga, the millers explained that the rise, which was expected in December, did not materialise because Kenyans were consuming other food commodities during the festive season.

Maize silos and driers at the Eldoret National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) depot.
Maize silos and driers at the Eldoret National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) depot.
Photo: NCPB

Additionally, they stated that the prices are likely to be affected during the second week of January with reports indicating that the 2kg packet is likely to rise by Ksh8.

Upon the review, the price of the 2Kg will go for Ksh130 from the current Ksh122. This comes after the prices rose from Ksh108 in November 2021.

“In December there is normally lower demand for maize flour as households turn to other foods consume more of other goods other than maize flour. By the end of this week, we shall have a clearer picture of what the market will look like going forward,” Nyaga stated.

The sentiments by the millers come after reports of a shortage of maize within the country's cereal stores with the Ministry of Agriculture stating that the rise in prices was to be expected.

This was occasioned by further reports of shortage of maize in Trans-Nzoia County which is one of the leading counties in maize production in the country.

Consequently, the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) reviewed the prices of maize from Ksh2,700 to Ksh3,000 to entice farmers to sell their produce to the board.

However, the reports of maize shortage were refuted by the farmers from the county who stated that they had just harvested and their crops adding that most of them were still preparing their harvests.

“We are just from harvesting our main crop and there shouldn’t be talks of a shortage at the moment. Millers have been saying that there is a shortage but I told them that we have enough maize, especially here in Trans-Nzoia," Mary Nzomo, an agricultural officer in Trans Nzoia stated.

Nonetheless, millers insisted that the hike was inevitable because of the increase in the price of the 90kg bag of maize sold to the millers within Nairobi. The millers are currently purchasing the 90kg bag of maize at Ksh3,200 from Ksh2,800.

Following the warning by the millers’ associations, Kenyans will face tough times in January after the cost of basic commodities such as sugar and cooking oil went up in the past six months.

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An image of cooking oil