Maize millers claim they have inadequate stocks but it is a statement that Kenyans must take with a pinch of salt. We urge media to avoid such one-sided stories that if they remain unchallenged, will go as gospel truth.
It is laced with profiteering motive and one that wants to take advantage of the Covid-19 situation to flood the market with maize from Mexico and all over the world.
The current Sh130 price per 2kg packet of maize meal is a result of exploitation and not necessarily about diminishing stocks.
When millers were buying a 90 kg of maize at an average of between Sh2,000 to Sh2,600 in December, it beats logic that millers are hanging on the perceived current price of Sh3,500 per 90 kg bag to price their flour when they bought hidden huge stocks when maize prices were low.
Cofek survey revealed reveal that a 90 kg bag of maize is currently retailing between Sh2,800 and Sh3,000 in Kitale and adjacent areas. We are not sure from where the millers are claiming to be buying maize at Sh3,500 per bag. It can only be a figment of their imagination but with intent to hoodwink the public that their new pricing is justified. It is not.
Although we are aware that imports are inevitable after March, we strongly believe that its’ the cereal millers who are causing artificial shortage by hoarding their stocks. They must be investigated for wanting to resale their cheap stocks expensively.
It would be untenable if the 2kg packet of a maize flour meal costs beyond Sh110.
In any case, its farmers who are hurt the most. They shoulder expensive DAP fertilizer price of over Sh5,000 per bag yet their maize is mopped up when the prices are far too low
Accordingly, we demand that government establishes the status of actual stocks held by the private millers and the strategic grain reserve.
To ease the alleged shortage, it would be critical that SGR offloads at least 5 million bags into the market at a price that won’t exceed Sh2,500 per bag.
Millers should not be issued with over 40 per cent of the same. 60 per cent should be sold to ordinary consumers who use posho mills.
The National Assembly must move to zero-rate fertilizer if we must realize food security. Its mischievous to load punitive taxation on farm inputs and end up spending nearly triple the proceeds of the very tax on importing maize.
Indeed Kenya should no longer bear of a life sentence of having to rely on maize imports from Tanzania and Uganda.
The Ministry of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Security report which showed domestic maize stock in October as 11.3 million bags should have acted on re-stocking immediately.
Other than maize, the same should be applied on wheat whose prices are equally drifting north