Maize de­lay at port sig­nals Sh90 flour short­age in shops

Bett says 1.4m bags of grain are held in Mom­basa as rains hit de­liv­ery by farm­ers

Business Daily (Kenya) - - ECONOMY & POLITICS - Ger­ald An­dae gan­dae@ke,na­tion­media.com

Of­fload­ing of sub­sidised maize at the Mom­basa port has been de­layed, rais­ing fears of a short­age of the Sh90-a-packet flour in shops.

Millers have raised con­cern that they are not get­ting enough of the sub­sidised maize in what has re­duced sup­ply of the flour in the mar­ket.

Agri­cul­ture sec­re­tary Willy

Bett said 1.4 mil­lion bags of maize are at the port wait­ing to be dis­charged, creat­ing a short­age for the millers.

The de­lay at the Mom­basa port sig­nals a short­fall and ra­tioning of the sub­sidised sta­ple food. Three ships car­ry­ing the last batch of 1.1 mil­lion bags of sub­sidised maize docked at Mom­basa port be­fore the Oc­to­ber 26 re­peat pres­i­den­tial and flour from the grain were ex­pected to land in the shop shelves in the sec­ond week of Novem­ber.

“The cur­rent short­age of sup­plies re­sults from the fact that huge con­sign­ment of maize is stuck at the port wait­ing to be off­loaded,” said Mr Bett.

The maize cargo is equiv­a­lent to Kenya’s con­sump­tion for 14 days.

Mr Bett said the mar­ket is yet to get enough stocks from the on­go­ing har­vest in the North Rift due to rains, un­der­ling the im­por­tance of the 1.4 mil­lion bags of sub­sidised maize.

“We are not get­ting enough stocks cur­rently at the Na­tional Ce­re­als and Pro­duce Board (NCPB) as we had an­tic­i­pated as the pur­chases have been slowed down by rains,” he said.

The NCPB had by Mon­day pur­chased 150,000 bags of maize out of 2.4 mil­lion bags that it tar­gets to re­plen­ish the Strate­gic Food Re­serve al­most a month since it opened its si­los. The gov­ern­ment has set aside Sh7.1 bil­lion to buy a bag at Sh3,200 from the farm­ers.

The Trea­sury ended the maize im­port sub­sidy, which started on May 16, in mid-oc­to­ber.

The sub­sidy low­ered the price of a 90-kg bag of maize to Sh2,300 from above Sh4,000 with tax­pay­ers of­fer­ing im­porters a re­bate or the dif­fer­ence of about Sh1,700.

The end of the sub­sidy and the set­ting the NCPB price at Sh3,200 a bag is ex­pected to raise flour prices to Sh120.

FILE

STA­PLE Work­ers o load sub­sidised maize lour at a Ny­eri. su­per­mar­ket

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