The National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) has sold its entire maize stocks to millers in a quest to lower the current high prices of flour.
NCPB managing director Joseph Kimote said the agency has released 200,000 bags of maize to millers at lower prices to try and address the runaway price of flour.
The board sold a 90-kilo bag of maize at kes 3,200 for the bulk maize in silos and kes 3,800 for the packaged one against the current kes 4,500 that the same quantity is fetching at the market.
“We have sold everything that we had bought to millers because they are the ones who can contribute to the reduction of the current cost of flour,” Joseph Kimote as quoted by business daily.
He further went on and said the maize was sold at kes 3,800 because of the high cost of imported jute bags that made packaging expensive.
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.
NCPB has been buying maize under its commercial wing for trading but it had difficulties in getting enough stocks this year from farmers as most have been hoarding in anticipation of higher prices in the coming days
“There are a number of large-scale farmers who still have maize at the moment, I would want them to sell it to us as we are still open for purchases,” Joseph Kimote.
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 an expected deficit.
Consequently, NCPB recently requested kes10 billion to purchase maize for the Strategic Food Reserve (SFR) in the current financial year to restock the depleted grain at the facility