Harvest signals fall in maize flour price

Harvesting of maize has begun in South Rift and other parts of East Africa, promising affordable flour in the coming days.

Workers harvest maize at Moiben in Uasin Gishu County. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

IN SUMMARY

  • Harvesting of maize has flour price to Sh95 per two-kilo packet, down from at least Sh120 at the start of the year.
  • Millers are currently buying a 90-kilogramme bag of maize at Sh2,100 on average, a significant drop from the Sh2,800 they had to pay in January.
  • A number of farmers who had been locked out of National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) are still stranded with their crop for lack of market.
  • The farm gate price for a 90-kilogramme bag of maize has dropped to a low of Sh1,900 leaving growers without alternative other than keeping their crop.

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Harvesting of maize has begun in South Rift and other parts of East Africa, promising affordable flour in the coming days.

Farmers in Narok have started harvesting the short rain crop with reports indicating that grain supply from Mbeya and Iringa in southern Tanzania has also improved significantly, cutting flour price to Sh95 per two-kilo packet, down from at least Sh120 at the start of the year.

Millers are currently buying a 90-kilogramme bag of maize at Sh2,100 on average, a significant drop from the Sh2,800 they had to pay in January.

“There is a lot of maize coming in from Tanzania and parts of South Rift that have started harvesting, this will play a major role in checking the price of flour given that it will be constant to the end of the year,” said regional market watcher, the Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC).

Uganda is also expected to start harvesting in the next two weeks, EAGC said.

Parts of western Kenya such as Bungoma and Kakamega will also start harvesting in coming days, boosting supply of the grain in the country.

This is, however, coming as bad news to thousands of farmers in the North Rift who have been holding their grain in the hope of finding better price in the future.

READ: NCPB holds Sh3 billion maize unfit for humans

A number of farmers who had been locked out of National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) are still stranded with their crop for lack of market.

The farm gate price for a 90-kilogramme bag of maize has dropped to a low of Sh1,900 leaving growers without alternative other than keeping their crop.

Kenya relies on Tanzania and Uganda to bridge the annual deficit.

This year, supply from the two countries has been consistent unlike in 2016 where Tanzania stopped maize exports while Uganda did not have enough to meet its requirement.

The Ministry of Agriculture has forecast a 44 per cent increase in maize production this year resulting from good weather and reduced impact of the fall armyworm.

The ministry said that farmers will harvest 46 million bags of 90 kilogrammes from the current crop that, which will be an increase from last season where the country registered 32 million bags.

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