NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 5 – Farmers and traders are hoarding up to 8.5 million bags of 90 kilograms of maize as of last week.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett says this has also contributed to the current high cost of maize flour which has hit a high of Sh150.
Bett has called on the traders and farmers to release the maize saying importation of maize in a month’s time will lower the cost in the market.
“The available grain in the country was healthy and has been healthy. And even now, we know we could not be in this situation if traders and farmers, had released the maize. What we have seen is unique this time round. Traders and farmers have realised they have an opportunity to make a lot of money. So this is a situation of hoarding,” Bett said on Tuesday.
At the moment 5.5 million bags are with the farmers while there remaining 3 million are held by traders anticipating higher prices when the shortage bites.
Bett says, were it not for the hoarding, the available maize is sufficient to feed the country until June.
The government has in the meantime released 1 million bags of maize to mitigate the ongoing drought where the miller will buy at Sh3000 from the current Sh4000 a bag.
This is expected to push trader to release the stocks since the prices might go down as well as bring the cost of maize flour to Sh115 per 2kg packet.