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Maize imports set to lower prices of unga

Maize flour prices are likely to drop by end month as imports from the region start trickling in, the Ministry of Agriculture confirmed yesterday.

Currently, the price of a 2-kilogramme packet of unga ranges from Sh110 to Sh123 with most common brands of maize flour retailing at an average of Sh122 while a 90kg bag of maize is retaling at Sh3,340 locally.

Crops Development Principal secretary Hamadi Boga confirmed yesterday in a phone interview confirmed that the local market is witnessing import inflows from Tanzania and Uganda pointing to the likelihood of prices easing later in the month.

Intra-trade reports

Harvests from South Rift Valley and Western Kenya are also expected from mid next month. Currently, Boga said intra-trade reports from Tanzania and Uganda indicate that the two countries have a surplus of more than eight million bags of white maize.

“Recently slow flow of imports has been noted from Tanzania. This is expected to pick up by the end of the month and boost local stocks,” said Boga.

In some regions in Tanzania, for instance Unimodal, harvesting is going while in Njombe, Iringa and Mbeya the maize crop is mature and in a good condition.

In some parts of Shinyanga and Mwanza regions, farmers are harvesting maize grown during Masika rains in 2019. “This shows that Tanzania has surplus stocks. Cross border reports indicate that dry maize is also trickling into Kenya from Uganda,” he added.

The imports come at a time when the government is also releasing more maize into the market to stabilise prices.

Boga said out of the two million bags the government had set aside to be released into the market only one million bags have been collected.

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