Maize prices in Kenya hit six-month low

The cost of dry maize, a major staple in Kenya, has declined to a six-month low following increased imports in the past weeks.

The decline comes as a big relief to households in the East African nation, who for months had grappled with high prices.

The government ended a seven-month maize subsidy last December and during the period, Kenyans bought a 2 kg packet of maize flour at 0.90 U.S. dollars.

Prices then shot up gradually to hit 1.1 dollars per packet in April for most of the brands. But in the last week, they have declined to be below 0.90 dollars for a 2 kg packet.

The drop in prices of the staple is attributed to increased imports from Uganda and Tanzania in the past weeks. This followed the government’s decision to allow importation of the grain in a bid to lower prices.

The Kenya government in March signed a deal with Uganda to buy 6.6 million bags of maize to plug a deficit that had led to rise in flour prices.

Data from the East African Grain Council showed cross-border maize imports currently stand at some 1,500 tonnes a day.

With rise in imports, Kenyan farmers and traders who had hoarded maize hoping prices would go up, therefore, have been forced sell the grain boosting supply in the market.