Millers-Cheaper unga to be widely available this week

They say wholesalers and retailers are not hoarding maize flour but managing stocks and expectations


• State plans to spend Sh8 billion for the Sh100 national maize flour subsidy program.

• Agriculture CS Peter Munya also confirmed that they will be clearing Sh500 million owed to millers for the 2017 subsidy program when the price of unga was Sh90.

on the shelf
Maize flour on the shelf
Image: The-Star

Sh100 subsidy maize flour will be widely available this week as the government finalises the process of introducing subsidy.

Millers have told consumers to expect normal supply of maize flour between Monday and Tuesday as the process of incorporating them (millers) into the subsidy programmes comes to an end.

Agriculture CS Peter Munya warned all agencies involved in the subsidy initiative against any mischief, fraud, or misappropriations including hoarding during this programme.

“Severe legal action shall be taken against any identified breach,” Munya said.

He spoke on Friday at Kilimo House during a media brief on the maize subsidy programme.

Last week, there was panic buying as consumers rushed to supermarkets to buy Sh100 maize flour after the government announced the subsidy programme.

A spot check shows that there is a shortage of maize flour in retail shops and supermarkets have been limiting consumers to at least two packets of 2kg maize flour each.

On Wednesday, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced the Fifth Stimulus Programme covering the supply and distribution of maize meal across the country.

Uhuru pronounced that a 2kg packet of maize flour shall retail at the price of Sh100 down from Sh205 until otherwise directed. The move was aimed at lowering the cost of living for vulnerable households as the government looks for a sustainable solution to the rising price of maize flour.

Cereal Millers Association CEO Paloma Fernades told the Star on Sunday that there is still supply constraints due to maize shortage.

“Even if the subsidy programme is in place, supply of maize in the country has not returned to normal,” she said.

The government is planning to spend Sh8 billion for the Sh100 national maize flour subsidy programme that seeks to cushion consumers from high cost of unga.

Munya said the National Treasury has opened an Escrow account at the Central Bank of Kenya and extended the required finance to cater for the subsidy programme.

“The subsidy programme will run for four weeks, from July 20, 2022, to August 20, 2022. The programme is open to registered millers, and so far 70 millers have signed contracts with the Ministry of Agriculture,” Munya said.

The CS added that the government will also clear Sh500 million owed to millers for the 2017 subsidy programme where unga was selling at Sh90.

He said in order to operationalise the maize flour subsidy programme, a multi-agency task force has been established to oversee the implementation of this plan.

The team comprises of representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, National Treasury, National Cereals and Produce Board, Agriculture and Food Authority, Kenya Revenue Authority, Cereals Millers Association and other Small and Medium Scale Millers Association.  

“To ensure this programme is implemented smoothly, I have formed an oversight committee which will be chaired by Agriculture PS Francis Owino to provide oversight for smooth implementation of the maize flour subsidy programme,” the CS said.

The committee will also ensure each miller is registered with Agriculture and Food Authority as a miller and that a duly executed and valid contract between the participating millers with the government is in place.

“The oversight committee will also provide weekly progress reports on the performance of the subsidy programme to the agriculture CS. It will also ensure an ESCROW account is opened and operated, and ensure sufficient funding is available to run the programme for the entire implementation period,” he said.

Munya said the ministry has established a command centre 0800724891 to be manned from 8 am to 5 pm daily to ensure seamless implementation of the programme.

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