Relief for consumers as rain raises food supply

Prices of foodstuff commonly consumed by Kenyans have eased in the past year. A spot check by People Daily reveals almost a 50 per cent drop in prices of various commodities, especially this month compared to the same period last year.

The decrease in some commodities according to the government data follows the current long rains. For example, the price of a 2-kg packet of white maize flour has dropped to between Sh94 and Sh103 from between Sh140 and Sh160 last year.

The government in May last year introduced Sh6.5 billion subsidy programme to help stabilise the market, leading to reduction of maize flour to Sh90 from a high of about Sh160 of a two-kilo packet.

During the subsidy period more than five million bags of maize were imported from Mexico, Zambia, Ethiopia and Uganda. The subsidy was in force up to December.

The government also under the subsidy programme allowed importation of 100,000 tonnes and 9,000 tonnes of duty free sugar and powder milk. Since the elapse of the subsidy programme in December prices increased to between Sh110 and Sh115 but have further dropped following increase in maize in the market.

Currently, some brands of maize flour in Nairobi supermarkets have reduced to Sh100.

For instance, 2-kg packet of major maize flour brands such as Pembe, Soko and Jogoo cost at Sh100 compared to more than Sh140 in May last year while prices of wheat have not changed much as compared to last year. Prices of sugar have equally gone down by between 47 and 50 per cent this month compared to the same period last year.

The prices have decreased to between Sh95 and Sh105 for one kilo of sugar compared to about Sh200 the same period last year. Sugar Directorate interim head Solomon Odera said on phone yesterday that the current prevailing prices will continue to be witnessed for the next two months.

supply “The local market is still benefiting from surplus imports shipped into the country last year when the government allowed duty free sugar following the low production occasioned by the prolonged drought of 2016/17,” he said. He, however, said that the local production is still struggling as compared to last year as cane players in the local industry are not developing cane due to financial challenges.

“Thus due to the problem we are likely to continue experiencing cane shortage up to next year,” Odera added. The country consumes 60,000 and 25,000 tonnes are supplied by local millers and the balance is realised through imports from the region.

Prices of processed milk have equally have decreased from more than Sh65 for 500ml last year to Sh50 this year for nearly all the brands in the local retail outlets.

Raw milk in estates and informal settlements and other urban centres have decreased from between Sh55 and Sh60 to Sh50 for a litre.

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