, NAIROBI, Kenya, July 3 – The government has procured 200,000 metric tonnes of maize from Tanzania in bid to lower the maize prices that have been going up in the recent months.
Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Cabinet Secretary Felix Koskei says the government of Tanzania has agreed to sell to Kenya a first batch 50,000 metric tonnes from her National Food Reserve Agency at a cost of Sh2,650 per 90 kilogram bag and delivered at a cost of Sh300 per bag.
Koskei says the maize will be delivered in mid August with the remaining amount negotiated over time depending on the availability of maize in Tanzania.
“The main objective of this initiative is to enhance supplies of maize in the Kenyan market with the sole purpose of moderating the prices of maize flour which is a key for staple food for many Kenyans,” he said.
The procurement will be through the private sector in Kenya while transport will be by Tanzania’s private sector.
“The National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) will offer storage facilities to the traders who may not have adequate storage facilities,” he said.
The national maize stocks as at May 21, 2014 stood at 8.8 million bags with farmers holding about 4 million bags; traders 1.1 million bags, millers 325,000 bags and NCPB having 3.03 million bags.
He refuted of any shortage of food in the country pointing out that that the national food security situation in Kenya in the month of May was normal.
This comes as Kenya’s economy suffers constrained growth owing to erratic weather patterns that resulted in depressed agricultural output in the first quarter of 2014.
Agriculture and forestry grew by 2.7 percent in the first quarter of 2014 compared to a growth of 6.8 percent over a similar period in 2013.
According to latest data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) a kilogram of green maize went up by 5.2 percent to Sh48. 97 from Sh46.54 in May while a 2kg packet of maize flour 1.8 percent to Sh121.98 from Sh119.83 in May.
A 2kg packet of wheat flour went up by 2 percent to Sh144.06 from Sh119.83 in May while a kilo of tomatoes went down by 8.9 percent to Sh93.80 from Sh103 in the month of May.