Maize millers have come out to ally fears that there will be a run out of stock in the next 7-10 days. Cereal Millers Association (CMA) clarified that members are carrying an average of 7-10 days stock which is being replenished on a daily basis to maintain levels at 7-10 days stock.
They added that the supplies however remain limited. The millers said that they will continue to reject maize based on high moisture, infestation & aflatoxin levels which fall outside of our specifications.
Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) Secretary General Francis Atwoli criticized the decision by the millers not to buy maize from the National Cereals and Produce Board as a ploy by cartels to drive up the price of flour.
While appearing before the National Assembly’s Public Investment Committee (PIC) on Tuesday, National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) Managing Director Newton Keter blamed the government for delaying to order sales of maize from its silos for over eight years, leading to its contamination.
A shortage of quality maize for millers has led to a spike in the cost of maize flour, hitting the poor hard.
MPs also accused the NCPB of colluding with millers to declare maize stocks “unfit for human consumption” so that it could be sold to them at a lower price, creating an avenue for personal enrichment at the expense of the poor.
A statement from CMA said
the CMA wishes to clarify that NCPB does not store contaminated maize nor is it selling contaminated maize. NCPB has different grades of maize, some suitable for human consumption and others for animal feeds. NCPB maize does not contain aflatoxins however sometimes can be discoloured as is the nature of maize grain.
Cereal Millers Association only mills around 35 per cent of the maize flour in the country while the rest goes through small scale and posho mills and therefore we cannot speak on behalf of all the millers in the country.
Agriculture Principal Secretary Richard Lesiyampe also said that there is enough maize stocks hence there is no looming maize shortage. Dr Lesiyampe said a meeting with maize millers and National Cereals and Produce Board officials had been convened to look into challenges that have precipitated a sharp increase in maize flour prices.
NCPB released 600,000 on the 15th of May, 2016 which is about a 12 day supply for the members of the CMA. Some upcountry depots were found to have limited stocks suitable for maize meal at sh2,300; however the landed price into Nairobi is in the region of sh2600 – 2650 Nairobi. Stocks being sold from NCPB Nairobi are grade 3 and 4 which is suitable for animal feeds and our animal feed millers continue to buy these stocks.
Current prices for local maize and regional maize range from sh2650 to 2800 delivered into Nairobi and are dependent on the quality of the maize.