Affordable Unga Faces Delays: Millers Attribute Global Scarcity, Foresee Maize Imports in Fortnight

by | Apr 20, 2023 | Food & Drink, News | 0 comments

President William Ruto has announced that the cost of unga in Kenya is expected to stabilize this week. However, the anticipated drop in prices to KSh 150 per 2kg packet may not happen as quickly as Kenyans hope. Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi stated that the government has granted import permits to 28 millers for duty-free maize, but the millers have challenged the move. Those with permits blame a worldwide shortage of maize, while those without permits anticipate their imports will arrive in a fortnight.

As of Thursday, April 20, the average retail price for a 2kg packet of maize flour remained at KSh 200, with a few brands like Umi and Ajab priced at KSh 159 and KSh 167, respectively. Linturi confirmed that the government had waived maize import duty and urged millers to adjust their prices accordingly.

Nonetheless, United Grain Millers Association (UGMA) Chair Ken Nyagah disclosed that no small miller received a duty-free import license from the government. Nyagah revealed that millers have secured lower-priced maize from COMESA member countries, which should arrive in less than two weeks. “We assure consumers that in less than weeks, we shall have been able to bring down the price of unga to less than KSh 150 per 2kg packet,” Nyagah stated, as quoted by Citizen TV.

The UGMA explained that the affordable maize imports coincide with the exporters’ harvest season. However, the association also noted that the imports will not meet their demand, which stands at 400,000 metric tonnes of maize.

Meanwhile, the Cereal Members Association, which received permits for duty-free maize imports, cited a global shortage of non-GMO maize. They also expressed concerns about a cash shortage, criticizing the government for not paying for maize flour supplied under the subsidy program. In January 2023, Parliament approved the Supplementary Budget 2022/2023, which included all financial allocations except the KSh 4 billion payment to maize millers. The government owed the millers the money following an initial KSh 4 billion payout in the unga subsidy program.

error: Content is protected !!