Maize flour prices to increase over ‘unclarity’ on import ban: CMA


File image of packets of maize flour at a supermarket. PHOTO| COURTESY
File image of packets of maize flour at a supermarket. PHOTO| COURTESY

The Cereal Millers Association (CMA) has criticised what it terms as unclarity with regards to the recent ban on maize imports from Uganda and Tanzania.

According to CMA, lack of coordination and communication between relevant government and regulatory agencies will result in increase of maize flour prices.

“The CMA welcomes the ban on maize that contains aflatoxin levels above the 10 parts per billion (ppb) threshold but is requesting the government to allow maize that does not breach this level be allowed to avoid a grain shortage,” the association said on Monday.

CMA averred that Kenya consumes an average of 3 million 90kg bags per month and some of this maize must be imported due to differences in harvesting periods in various counties.

Its members, who account for over 40 per cent of processed flour, are reported to be holding stocks of around 1.5 million bags and are concerned that at present there are no significant stocks to ensure unrestricted supply of maize flour.

In Nairobi, CMA said the prices of raw grain have moved to Ksh2,800 from Ksh2,500.

Consequently, the association stated that price of a maize flour bale has increased to Ksh1,250 with room for a further price increment should the situation not to be resolved immediately.

The CMA is recommending the following to avoid further consumer pain:

  • Government to immediately constitute a joint task force to ensure that there is full coordination and communication of the current maize restriction and ensure involvement of all regulators.
  • In the interim destination inspection should be performed so that clean maize can be cleared. If required KEBS, AFA and accredited laboratories should test for aflatoxins at the border point to avoid further delays.
  • Temporarily lift the requirement for Certificates of Conformity until the processes are seamless.
  • Ensure that porous border points are manned.
  • All good quality maize which is held by traders and farmers within our borders need to be made immediately available to millers to ensure that supply of maize flour is not impeded during this period.

The CMA said it is confident that the proposed immediate measures will protect Kenyan consumers from higher food prices.

“As an association we are open to further consultations that will benefit all the stakeholders. Let us work together and avert a crisis,” the statement adds.

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