KENYA – Kenyan-based grain miller, Grain Industries Limited, has announced that it has cut the price of its maize flour by 24 percent to sell at KES 166, setting the stage for stiff competition with other millers, Business Daily has reported.
The announcement follows a notice by Mohamed Jaffer, the owner of Grain Industries Limited addressing retailers to lower the cost of flour in line with the recommended price issued by the company.
Kindly implement the recommended price on shelves,” read the notice.
Grain Industries Limited (GIL) company is located in the Shimanzi area of Mombasa, Kenya, and operates under Ajab and Umi maize flour brands.
This comes after the Agriculture Cabinet Secretary (CS) Mithika Linturi summoned over 20 local millers over the price of maize meal, which is the country’s staple.
Kenya has been battling an acute maize shortage due to drought coupled with a high cost of fertilizers that raised the cost of production prompting farmers to raise the price of their produce.
The result has been historically high prices that currently are retailing at between KES 200 to KES230 for a 2-kilogram (Kg) packet.
However, the government had given millers and traders licenses to import 10 million of duty-free white maize in a bid to stabilize maize flour prices in the country.
In addition, recently, President Ruto had hinted that imported maize would be expected to arrive in the country which would result in a lowering of the price of unga for a 2kg packet from the current KES200 to KES 150.
However, after a spot check by Citizen TV, the news watchdog reported that only a few brands have slightly lowered their prices, particularly Ajab and Umi brands to below KES 170.
The move by the miller to cut the price of maize flour by at least Sh52 to Sh166 for a two-kilogram packet had caused jitters although the CS had said that the company might be one of the beneficiaries of duty-free imports.
However, the move didn’t please other millers who argued that selling flour below Sh200 per two-kilo packet under the current cost of maize is not viable as the price accounts for 80 percent of the total cost of production.
“It is impractical to sell flour at below Sh200 given the current cost of maize in the market,” said a member of the Cereal Millers Association
Kenya has been pegging its hopes on imports to cut the cost of flour, but traders have failed to bring in enough stocks to lower the runaway prices.
As of last week, only two ships had docked in Mombasa, carrying a total of 100,000 tonnes of maize, out of the 10 million bags of maize that the State authorized millers to ship duty-free.