By WAMBUI PAULINE
The prices of maize flour are expected to increase from Monday in most parts of the country, with millers circulating new price lists to supermarkets.
However, Agriculture National Assembly committee chairman Silas Tiren on Sunday asked millers to deplete the subsidized maize flour in their stocks before issuing out new prices to retailers and supermarkets.
According to Mr. Tiren, the millers have enough stock from the funded programme to last another month.
Speaking to journalists at Marriott Hotel in Eldoret, the chairman said he expects the price of the staple food to increase from February and not January.
“The millers need to be fair to Kenyans. They took enough stock, we have the records of how much maize was purchased by each miller, and we expect their stock to last another month,” He said
The Moiben legislator urged the millers not to take advantage of Kenyans since the Sh6 billion subsidy programme came to an end on December 31.
“I don’t want to interfere with the operations of the millers but we are warning them against increasing the prices or repackaging the subsidised flour,” Mr. Tiren said.
The end of the maize flour subsidy programme has, however, elicited mixed reactions from Kenyans, with most terming it a political campaign strategy used by the government.
However, residents of Machakos town and its environs are still enjoying subsidised maize flour even after the government wound up the subsidy programme on the commodity.
A spot check in leading supermarkets within the town’s CBD showed the retail stores were still selling the commodity at Sh90 per 2 kilogram packet, except Hostess maize flour which was going for Sh185 at several supermarkets.
A visit to the Old Naivas Supermarket revealed that the store was still restocking their shelves with the subsidised flour even as most Kenyans brace for tougher times following the decision to end the programme.
While announcing an end to the government maize flour subsidy last week, Agriculture Cabinet secretary Willy Bett said prices would not rise above Sh120 per two- kilogram packet.
“The supply of maize in the country has stabilized. As the government, we are keen to ensure that change in price is not anything to worry the consumer,” he said.
The National government started the subsidised maize programme in June last year at a cost of Sh6 billion to cushion consumers from high cost of the product occasioned by prolonged drought, which was aggravated by fall worms that destroyed hundreds of acres of maize in some of the maize producing counties.
The details of the new price list have not been revealed yet until it takes effects.