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Kenya

Govt assures subsidized maize flour enough to last through October

The government launched a Sh6.5 billion subsidy programme pushing back the 2Kg maize flour to Sh90 from Sh135.

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 31 – The country has enough maize to sustain the subsidized Sh90 maize flour for at least the next five months.

Agriculture Permanent Secretary Dr. Richard Lesiyampe says allegations by maize millers that there is a shortage are misleading as the government has enough stock.

“We have enough maize in our stock to sustain the supply of the subsidized flour, those who are saying we do not have, are simply lying,” Dr. Lesiyampe told Capital Business.

The PS also said that the lack of the subsidized maize flour in certain places is a consequence of panic buying, but not because of shortage.

According to Lesiyampe, people have been buying the subsidized flour in bulk out of fear that they may run out.

His sentiments follow a warning issued by Cereal Millers Association yesterday claiming they had run out of stock and were now depending on imports from private operators.

“All millers have run out of maize. We are all waiting for the next vessel to arrive,” Cereal Millers Association Chairman Nick Hutchinson told the Parliamentary Agriculture Committee yesterday.

Although a second vessel carrying more maize stock arrived at the Mombasa port yesterday, CMA complained that the clearance process at the port was taking too long with some vessels taking up to 20 days to get cleared.

“One vessel has docked and the next is expected at the Mombasa port mid-June. The lack of steady supply could see the prices of unga rise to where we were at Sh135 per 2 kg packet of maize,” Hutchinson said.

Lesiyampe, however, dismissed those allegations saying they were simply speaking as business people, and emphasized that the situation was under the government’s control.

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Maize shortage hit the country following the prolonged drought that ran from December 2016, to May 2017 affecting its supply.

As a counter move, earlier this month, the government launched a Sh6.5 billion subsidy programme making the Sh90 maize flour available.

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