KENYA – Kenya has inked a government-to-government deal with Mexico set to see the country directly procure cheap maize from the Northern America state in the event imports are required next year.
Director of Crops at the Ministry of Agriculture Johnson Irungu said a team was in Mexico last month where the deal was agreed upon.
“We have reached a government-to-government deal with Mexico and this will make it not only cheap, but also convenient to import maize,” said Dr Irungu.
He said the precautionary arrangement would ensure there are no delays as witnessed in May when the decision to import was reached late amid rising consumer cost of flour.
The subsidy programme, which ends this month, saw the government pump in Sh6 billion to lower flour shelf price after it hit a record high of Sh153 for a two-kilogramme packet before coming down to Sh90 following the intervention.
Under the subsidy programme, the government sold maize to millers at Sh2,300 for a 90 kg bag despite firms importing the produce at above Sh4,000, with the State settling the difference.
The deal will see the government sell the produce to millers at a lower cost, avoiding the expensive subsidy.
Dr Irungu said the maize that the government is currently buying through National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) will play a crucial role in the event the subsidy comes to an end and millers are left without grain to mill.