The price of a 90-kilogramme bag of maize in Nairobi is selling for Sh4,000 compared with Tanzania where it goes at about Sh2,800. Agriculture Principal Secretary Hamadi Boga said Tanzanians have also been feeling the heat of rising local prices.
“I was discussing with one of the millers last week who has a plant in Tanzania and he told me how the prices of maize have started climbing because of the shortage that has been created by high demand here in Kenya,” said Prof Boga.
Traders, who have been bringing in the grain from Tanzania, had alerted millers last week that they will be hiking the price from the previous Sh3,700 per 90 kilogramme bag. Consumers have been feeling the overall effect of the consequently rising flour prices.
Delays in harvesting maize locally has seen Kenya rely on imports from Tanzania. The price of flour in Kenya has hit Sh130 for a two-kilo packet with millers attributing this to limited supply of grain in the country. Normally, crop from the main season in the parts of North Rift is supposed to have hit the market by now. However, this has been delayed by the ongoing rains that have hampered harvesting.
A survey carried out by The EastAfrican found that in most shops in Dar es Salaam suburbs, the average cost of a retail price of 1kg maize flour ranges between Tsh1,500 ($0.6) and Tsh1,800 ($0.7) up from between Tsh1,000 ($0.4) and Tsh1,300 ($0.5) in the previous quarter of this year.
Data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show that in rural areas the current retail price for maize flour — consumed by the majority of citizens — has slightly increased by an average rate of between Tsh800 ($0.3) and Tsh950 ($0.4). Kenya depends on cross-border imports to bridge the annual local deficit as it does not produce enough grain to meet the demand.