The port of Mombasa welcomed the arrival of the first shipment of white maize on Monday, signaling hope for Kenyan consumers who have been grappling with rising food prices. This news comes just a day after President William Ruto assured the public that the cost of maize flour would decrease this week.
While President Ruto has pledged a second shipment of white maize next week, the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) shipping manifest reveals that no such vessel is scheduled to dock before April 26th. Nevertheless, Kenyans can expect lower maize flour prices, a priority outlined by the Head of State during the Mavoko Water Project launch on Friday.
President Ruto emphasized the need to protect local farmers from the influx of imported maize, stating, “The price of unga will go down, and we have to ensure that the maize we are importing from other countries does not affect our farmers because they are the ones we depend on here in our country.”
As the demand for duty-free products such as wheat, rice, and edible oil grows, the Cereal Millers Association (CMA) has requested the government to authorize more millers to import white maize to help close the supply gap. In a recent interview, CMA expressed concerns about the uncertainty surrounding the next shipment of maize.
Last month, a vessel carrying over 42,000 tonnes of yellow maize arrived in Mombasa—the first subsidized maize shipment since the government allowed duty-free imports in December to address shortages. However, this shipment did not alleviate consumer concerns as yellow maize is primarily used for animal feed and oil products.
In an effort to support local food production, three vessels—Mv African Robin, Mv Seastar Tradition, and Summer Sea—are slated to deliver tons of fertilizer, aligning with the country’s planting season.
Rising food prices have placed a strain on Kenyan households, with the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) reporting that inflation remained unchanged at 9.2 percent in March. Food and beverage costs surged to 13.4 percent, while housing, water, electricity, and gas increased by 7.5 percent, and transport costs rose to 12.6 percent within a year.