By J.J. Kioria
The government has directed the National Cereals and Produce Board to release a million bags of maize to millers from Wednesday in a bid to lower the cost of maize flour in the country.
Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett said with the shortage of maize in the region , millers have been unable to import maize into the country owing to high prices leading to the high cost of maize flour in the market.
With Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich having announced the zero rating of maize flour and the lifting of import duty on maize during his Budget speech last week, the government insists that millers must transfer the benefit to consumers in the next week.
The government says the move would bring down the cost of maize floor to 115 shillings per 2 kilogram packet.
A 2kg packet of Unga currently retails at 140 shillings, 20 shillings higher than traditionally more expensive wheat flour.
While the market price of a bag of maize is retailing at Ksh.4500, the government will sell the bag of maize to millers at a cost of 3000 shillings.
The government is also engaging the government of Ethiopia to allow the fast tracking of maize imports to Kenya as millers assert that Ethiopian Maize is of good quality and the cost of transportation is lower.
The government estimates that about 8 Million bags are being held by farmers and traders for purposes of hoarding a move it has termed as unethical.