Govt eyes maize flour price at Sh75 through Galana project


Govt eyes maize flour price at Sh75 through Galana project
File image of maize. PHOTO| COURTESY

Kenyans will soon be able to buy a packet of maize flour for as little as Sh75.

This as the government plans to compete with traditional millers with maize grown from the Galana Kulalu irrigation scheme.

Ministry of Water and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa on Wednesday said that under the Unga Galana project, the government would be able to release a bag of maize for as little as a Sh1,000 passing on the benefits to consumers.

“From national irrigation board we believe we can be able to put a packet of Unga on the shelves at Sh75 called Unga Galana….. If we mill and transport this to shelves, maize flour can be put at a cheaper price,” said Mr Wamalwa.

Considered a Kenyan staple, the price of Ugali has been on the rise with a two kilogram packet of maize flour retailing for as high as Sh153.

This has seen the government move in to allow duty free import of maize as well as scraping excise duty on maize flour.

Mr Wamalwa said the government is actively working to cushion vulnerable Kenyans from the high cost of living.

“The issue has been pricing. The issue of milling has been a challenge. We need to look at the future and come up with sustainable way of addressing prices in unga,” he said.

The national treasury and the ministry of Agriculture struck a deal with millers on Tuesday to release one million bags of maize from the National Produce and Cereal Board (NCPB) in a move that is expected to see the price of maize flour drop to Sh115 in a week’s time.

Launched in 2014, the Galana Kulalu irrigation project was primed to produce 31 bags of maize per acre.

However the multibillion shilling project has been marred with controversy given the high budgetary allocations with little to show for it.

The Water CS admitted the project had been dogged with challenges especially with delay in delivery of equipment that had slowed down progress.

“That is why we have been unable to fully deliver this dream to Kenyans. Kenyans expected us to complete this in March. With the equipment’s we have been awaiting from Israel we will be able to complete this project in the next six months,” said Mr Wamalwa.

In the 017/18 budget the Galana Kulalu project has been allocated Sh2.2 billion.

 

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Story By Wangui Ngechu
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