Millers Announce Increase in Price of Maize Flour

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

Kenyans have been cautioned of an impending spike in maize flour prices following a shortage in raw materials both locally as well as regionally.

In an interview on Saturday, June 11, Peter Miiri, Kitui Flour Mills Chief Accountant noted that the price was estimated to go up in a week's time as millers continue to suffer a shortage in stocks. 

He noted that locally, the drought, which has lasted for three years and affects over 18 million people, had caused a decrease in maize supply across the region.

"We are extremely running low on raw materials which is maize which is being caused by disruptions in the supply chain in that local supply has dried up as well as regional supply.

 A plate of ugali with chicken
A sumptous meal comprising of ugali with chicken

"The government's offer to import maize from abroad has been impossible because of the high cost of importation," Miiri revealed in an interview with NTV.

He further noted that importing the cereal was too expensive for local millers which may force some either to halt production or increase prices.

"The stocks we have will only last for a week. Unless we have government intervention, we are going to be closing the production very soon," he added.

For now, a 2-kilogramme packet of maize flour has been retailing north of Ksh150.

Towards the end of May, the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) and Cereal Millers Association (CMA) had cautioned Kenyans that the maize flour prices would still go up despite the National Assembly opposing the introduction of VAT on the commodities as proposed by the Finance Bill 2022.

At the time, the two organisations noted that the country was facing a shortage of maize and wheat owing to the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine. 

Over the last year, the country has been undergoing a major downtime due to a variety of factors with the most affected being the cooking oil industry.

So far, Pwani Oil has already halted operations owing to a short supply of the crucial palm oil as well as a shortage in access to dollars for the import.

Cooking oil is one of the commodities that have experienced a spike in the retail price by up to 40 per cent with the situation expected to worsen.

Kapa Oil, which is also a major player in cooking oil and detergents manufacturing, is also operating below its capacity owing to the dollar shortage. The company is known for manufacturing Rina cooking oil and Toss detergents.

Cooking oil products on sale
A stock photo of bottled cooking oil on sale at a supermarket.