NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 4 – The government will tomorrow release 1 million bags of maize from the National Cereals and Produce Board with the aim of cutting the cost of maize flour which has hit an all time of Sh150 per 2kg packet.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett has said the move will reduce the cost to Sh115 per packet from next week.
He says the Cereals Board has a stock of 1.35 million bags of 90 kilogram’s but added that maize imports are expected to reach the country in a month’s time to mitigate the biting famine.
“The time at which the imported maize will hit this country is in excess of one month. What is going to happen here in between? So the kind of intervention we are instituting now is to release up to one million of our strategic reserves of National Cereals and Produce Board. And the commitment we have had with the Cereal Millers’ Association is that by next week the effect of the new prices will have to take place,” Bett announced during a media briefing the National Treasury.
To further cushion consumers, he says millers will access the bags for Sh3,000 from the current Sh4,000 per bag.
Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich says the government is keen to ensure that the production costs is reduced so as to achieve the expected cost of maize flour.
“We expect the zero rating of all the inputs particularly the packaging, energy costs and transport costs by about Sh3 to Sh5 there about. And now with the price of maize, we expect that to also come down with the release of the NCPB maize,” Rotich said.
Apart from the ongoing drought, Rotich has also blamed the current high cost of flour to farmers and traders holding maize of up to 8.5million bags as of last week.
The Cereal Millers’ Association Chairman Nick Hutchinson called on the government to collaborate with the millers and ensure that they work together to address all the challenges that may keep the cost of flour high despite the reduction.