Consumers are set to pay more for maize flour as the price of the commodity hits an all-time high of kes 148 for a two-kilogramme packet on the shelves due to the looming maize shortage in the country.
Currently, the price of a two-kilogramme packet of Soko and Ajab flours retails at kes 148, Pembe at kes 144 while Jogoo sells for kes 140 from an average of kes 120 a week ago.
This is the highest price to have been realised in the country for decades with the highest level achieved in recent years being 2017 when the cost of flour hit kes 136 for a two-kilo packet on the back of a serious drought.
“The price of maize has gone up and it is not readily available in the market, this is the reason why the price of flour is rising,” Rajan Shah, chief executive officer of Capwell Industries.
The price of a 90-kilogramme bag of maize has gone up to kes 4,500 from kes 3,700 last month as the supply of the produce tightens in the market.
Millers have been struggling to get stocks of maize from farmers as the imports from Tanzania and Uganda have slowed down in recent days.
A report by the Ministry of Agriculture released last month indicated that 85 per cent of the total stock of maize in the county is being held by farmers.
The report indicated that growers are holding 8.5 million bags of maize stocks out of 10.1 million bags of 90Kgs, which has left millers with a serious shortage of grain. Millers and traders were in possession of a paltry 1.5 million bags.
The ministry has recommended the importation of four million bags of duty-free maize to cover for an expected deficit following a decline in supplies of the produce coming in from Uganda as well as the delay in the short rains in the country.