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Kenyans pay more to eat ugali than the rest in East Africa

Maize flour packets at a Nairobi supermarket. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Households in Kenya are paying the highest price for maize compared to those elsewhere in East Africa, even as the Ministry of Agriculture maintains large-scale farmers are hoarding the commodity.

The retail price of white dry maize across the country has crossed the Sh40,000 ($450) a tonne mark or Sh3,600 for every 90kg bag, latest data by East African Grain Council’s regional agricultural trade intelligence shows.

The data shows that the commodity is retailing at Sh3,600 per 90kg bag in Machakos and Makueni, Sh4,050 in Nairobi and Sh4,059 in Mombasa.

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This is almost double the retail price of Sh24,400 ($244) per tonne or Sh2,196 per 90kg bag in Mwanza and Sh1,764 in Mbeya, all in Tanzania.

Maize is currently retailing at Sh2,745 per 90kg bag in Dar es Salaam but as low as Sh1,647 at Tunduma, near Tanzania’s border with Zambia.

Elsewhere, the commodity is retailing at Sh3,141 per bag in Lira and Tororo ( both in Uganda), Sh2,736 in Gitega and Ngozi (Burundi) and Sh3,618 in Kampala, the EAGC’s RATIN data shows.

The high prices of maize in Kenya have pushed up the cost of flour above Sh115 per two-kilo packet of the highest grade. The Agriculture ministry maintains that large-scale farmers are hoarding the commodity.

The ministry says the stock available at the National Cereals and Produce Board’s strategic reserve can only last up to the end of this month.

That could create a supply gap as the early maize harvests are expected in the market from late August. The ministry has since indicated a plan to open the duty-free maize import window in July.

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