Maize flour supply erratic in CBD retail chains

Wednesday August 16 2017

A supermarket attendant stocks a maize flour shelf. FILE PHOTO | NMG

A supermarket attendant stocks a maize flour shelf. FILE PHOTO | NMG  

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Scarcity of subsidised cheap flour has once again hit Nairobi’s Central Business District despite millers saying they have enough stocks in factories.

The shortage of the staple hit the market on election day-eve but the situation normalised by Friday last week, only for the stocks to be cleared over the weekend in what the Cereal Millers Association (CMA) attributes to high demand.

A survey from Monday to Wednesday revealed the CBD was facing an acute shortage with Tuskys supermarket limiting customers to no more than four 2kg packets at its OTC branch. Millers argue that the situation was occasioned by the fact that factories have not been working at full capacity since the election week.

“There is no cause for concern. Mills were not working at full capacity during the election period but are now getting back to normal,” said CMA chief executive officer Paloma Fernandez. 

She said millers made deliveries to retail outlets in town on Monday but the uptake was very high with stocks exhausted within a short time.

“Many millers will be delivering today (Wednesday) to all the branches and we expect normalcy to return before the end of the week,” she said.

Ms Fernandez said there were enough stocks of maize. Tuskys managing director Daniel Githua said the shortage witnessed in the better part of last week resulted from logistical challenges as they could not get stocks.

“Millers normally supply our outlets in town but during the election period deliveries were interrupted. However, the situation is coming back to normal,” said Mr Githua.

His sentiments were echoed by Willy Kimani, chief operations officer of Naivas Supermarket. He said that there had been disruption in supplies but normalcy was returning.

“There were disruptions in supplies but we are getting more stocks this week,” Mr Kimani said.

A spot check in supermarkets Wednesday morning showed Tuskys had a handful of Sh90 flour packets at the OTC branch, while Naivas, along Ronald Ngala Street, had none.

However, Naivas had flour on Monday and an attendant said it was later exhausted due to high demand.