Nairobi, June 16, 2014… In the wake of increased maize flour prices in the country, an industry lobby group is proposing a raft of measures they say will help improve the competitiveness of the grains market and create price stability.
The Cereal Millers Association (CMA), through its chairman Nick Hutchinson says that the liberalisation of the grains market would create price stability as well as increase investment opportunities in the market. This would further be supplemented by ensuring that more maize is released into the market by the farmers as well as the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB).
“We still have a large portion of the maize grown locally used for the production of animal feeds. The government needs to allow duty free importation of yellow maize specifically for animal feeds, which would in turn release about 2.7 million bags of the locally grown maize for human consumption.”
According to the latest Tegemeo Report released in April by Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development, Kenya’s annual maize consumption stands at between 40 – 43 million bags, against a production capacity of 34 million bags from the 2014/15 crop. The deficit, which averages 10 million bags annually, is subsidised by cross border trade from Uganda and Tanzania.
Hutchinson however notes that maize imports from the East African neighbours are at times not sufficient due to restricted supply and therefore forcing millers to be reliant on local maize which is limited in supply. “Most of the millers cannot access maize from outside the East African region since these imports incur 50% duty,” he adds.
Some of the causes identified for the maize grain deficit include post-harvest losses, where it is estimated that about 30% of the maize harvest is lost due to improper drying and inadequate storage facilities.
“One way of curbing this is to have NCPB provide drying facilities to farmers for free as well as provide special financing to farmers to access storage facilities,” says Hutchinson.
Notes to the editor:
The Cereal Millers Association was formed in 2000 and comprises of 25 of the largest millers in the country with varied wheat, maize, rice and feed millers in Mombasa, Machakos, Eldoret, Kitale, Nairobi, Thika, Kisumu, Mwingi amongst others and its membership is still growing. CMA has been very involved in the push for liberalized grain markets with regard to maize and wheat.
CMA’s vision has been to provide safe, affordable and enough food for consumers. They have been in the forefront of the fight against aflatoxins and have been self-regulating as an Association for the past four years. We are also involved in the food fortification programme that has been rolled out by the Government