High NCPB maize prices keeps off millers

KENYAHigh prices set by the government has slowed down the sale of old maize stocks by the National Cereals and Produce Board, the chief executive said on Friday.

Two month ago the board was allowed to sell close to one million bags of maize in a bid to stabilise prices of maize and maize flour but so far it has only been able to sell about 10,000 bags.

The government fixed the price at Sh2,800 per 90 kilo bag but prices in the open market have come down to just below Sh2,000.

“We have requested that the price be reduced so that we can attract more buyers considering that the market prices of maize have dropped,” said Newton Terer.

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NCPB is concerned that unless it gets buyers, its stores may be soon overflow with fresh harvests expected in two months’ time. It currently has 4.3 million bags of maize which inclues 1.8 million bags bought this year under the Strategic Grain Reserves part of which Terer said needs to be disposed.

Terer said millers are keen on purchasing the maize and have kept making inquiries if the price has gone down.

He however said SGR being a government programme the relevant ministry has to grant any price reduction.

Maize prices had gone up sharply amid claims that some farmers and middlemen were holding more than eight million bags in anticipation of higher purchase prices.

However farmers and middlemen released part of the stocks into markets causing a price drop.

Last year farmers harvested more than 40.3 million bags against a national demand of about 38 million bags. Some of the traders imported stocks from Uganda and Tanzania.This year the government estimates that farmers will harvest about 42 million bags – The Star

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June 8, 2015; http://allafrica.com/stories/201506091019.html

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