Kenyans Are Choking From Unprecedented High Costs in Food Prices

Ugali is Kenya's main staple food

The situation is even worse for families who depend on sifted and packaged maize flour, retail prices across the country have gone beyond the Khs. 220 mark for a per 2 kg packet and still rising, such prices have never been witnessed before in the country

By The Weekly Vision

Kenyans are choking from unprecedented high food prices, particularly on maize flour, the country’s main staple food. The Weekly Vision investigations established that the situation is so dared to the extent that in many parts of rural Kenya where the price of a 2-kilogram tin, popularly known as gorogoro previously retailed at Khs. 100 is now going for between Khs. 150 to 180 and could hit the Ksh. 200 mark soon.

Larger families the worst hit, especially with the presence of teenagers whose food demand is usually high. The situation is even worse for families who depend on sifted and packaged maize flour, retail prices across the country have gone beyond the Khs. 220 mark for a per 2 kg packet and still rising, such prices have never been witnessed before in the country. Our investigations in Nairobi established that even githeri, roast and boiled maize sellers have been forced to hike prices because of the increased prices of green maize. Sellers at the cheapest wholesale Marikiti market in the city’s Central Business District (CBD) off Haile Selassie Avenue have increased the prices of green maize from Khs. 10 to 25 each, meaning that sellers have to share the cost with the consumers. 

Agriculture CS Perter Munya

According to the National Produce and Cereals Board (NCPB), at the end of last year, NCPB was purchasing maize from farmers at KShs. 2, 300 to 2, 500 for a 90 kg bag, but at the moment the situation has since seen the price more than double. The Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) Lake Counties Region Economic Bloc said the same bag is now selling for between Khs. 5000 to 5500, when available.

“We have never seen a situation like this before and the situation is threatening to get even worse as cereal becomes scarcer with this year’s harvests in the region months away. Our lifelines from supplies from Uganda have been blocked after Ugandan authorities issued orders against the export of maize,” said the KNCCI regional spokesman Herman Kasili.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya made the significant announcement on taxes at the Namanga along the Kenya-Tanzania border, from where he also directed that all raw materials used in the making of animal feed, be imported duty-free. His decision is aimed at making prices more affordable to the consumer

Mr Kisili said that many cereal wholesalers across the region have been forced to close down their businesses because there is no stock left to sell, while NCPB stores are empty. Though the steep rise in the cost of maize flour has pushed the government into waiving all levies and taxes that are normally levied on imported maize for the next three months, it remains to be seen how fast the move will help reverse the situation from spiralling out of control. 

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya made the significant announcement on taxes at the Namanga along the Kenya-Tanzania border, from where he also directed that all raw materials used in the making of animal feed, be imported duty-free. His decision is aimed at making prices more affordable to the consumer. It is hoped that by the end of the window, farmers in some parts of the country would have started harvesting their crop, especially in the South Rift areas such as parts of western Kenya and the North Rift where maize is grown on a large scale.

However, it is in Tanzania that a month ago increased its maize export licenses by a double from Khs. 25, 000 to more than Khs. 57, 500 per truck into Kenya thus raising even more queries 

of what impact will it have on consumer prices in Kenya?

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