In an attempt to steady markets amid supply concerns, the Kenyan National Cereals and Produce Board has been distributing reserve maize to millers at Ksh 2,300 per 90 Kg bag. As maize stocks in the strategic food reserve dwindle, however, maize flower prices have risen to Ksh 124 Per 2 Kg packet, with buyers and sellers pricing-in the potential of future shortages.
Maize prices continue to fluctuate and are currently trading at UGX 1,150 per kg in the Kampala area as traders await the middle of July when the new crop will enter the market and should lower price points. Some soybean growing areas, especially the Busoga region in Eastern Uganda, have begun harvesting but high moisture content has eased the price to UGX 1,800 per kg. Tanzanian and Malawi soybeans are coming into Uganda at between UGX 1,900 per kg and UGX 2,000 per kg. Sesame seeds will also be harvested next month but traders have been advised to purchase early to avoid shortages and high prices in the Lira area. Sesame seeds are currently trading at UGX 6,000 per kg in Lira and Mombasa rates are currently at USD 1,450 per metric ton.
Due to the current maize shortage, the Kenyan government is in the process of finalizing a deal that would allow millers and traders to import maize in a bid to reduce maize price volatility.
Within the next two months, the Kenyan Cabinet is expected to give the defining verdict on whether to lift the ban on GMOs that was imposed in 2012. All indications are that the Cabinet is likely to give the nod to the controversial technology as the country continues to grapple with a perennial food shortage.
Maize prices in the Rift Valley have dropped as NCPB plans to sell off more than two million bags from its stores. The prices increased to more than 3,200 bags last month for a 90kg bag. But the prices have dropped to between Sh2,600-Sh2,800 in Eldoret, Kitale, Bungoma and other areas with millers in Nairobi buying at an average price of Ksh 3100 per 90kg.
Because the vetting process and conditions introduced by Kenya Farmers Association director Kipkorir Menjo has made the registration process slow and arduous, few farmers have thus far registered and are selling product to independent traders at Ksh 2,000/90kg despite the board paying Ksh 2,500 per 90-kilo bag of maize. The National Cereals and Produce Board has so far bought 391,000 bags of maize and is yet to meet its target of 2 million bags. Rains have set in most parts of the country specifically Northeastern, Western and Nyanza and parts of Eastern Kenya. Rains in North Rift are yet to start hence farmers are yet to start planting. Moderate wet weather is expected over the Western parts of the country and the Central Highlands. With Wajir, Garissa, Mandera, Isiolo and Marsabit counties receiving more than 30mm in 24 hours.