The National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) is currently struggling to sell imported maize. The maize in question was imported under the subsidy program meant to cushion consumers from high flour prices.
Now the millers are reportedly reluctant to buy the maize being sold at US $22.85 (Sh2,300) per 90kg bag despite having been imported at US $39.74 (Sh4,000). According to media reports, the NCPB is holding 350,000 out of the 630,000 bags it released to millers last year at Sh2,300 before the end of the subsidy program on December 31, 2017.
The board’s corporate affairs manager Mr. Titus Maiyo said that they are yet to distribute well over 350,000 bags of maize imported by firms from Mexico. He also added that millers are invited to buy said maize.
Mr Maiyo further dispelled fears that they were unfit for human consumption, seeing how they have been in their stores for about two years now. He went on to insist that there is proper storage of the grains in their silos, making them suitable for human consumption.
The government pumped in approximately US $60Bn to import maize to lower flour prices. This is following the inflated price that had hit Sh153 for a 2kg bag at the time., However, this soon came down to Sh90 following the intervention.
Nonetheless, millers are reluctant to purchase maize from NCPB. They are instead opting for cheap produce from Uganda which is going for as low as US $11.92 (Sh1,200) per 90kg bag. Meanwhile, some of them have been forced to scale down operations to milling twice a week. This is due to the plummet in the demand for sifted maize flour.
But low maize prices are an advantage to consumers most of whom have opted for posho maize flour, which is more affordable.