It was joy for Kiambu residents following the government ease on the price of maize flour which has dropped from Sh230 per 2kg packet to Sh100 at most retail outlets.
Most residents expressed relief saying they were weighing options on skipping their favourite Ugali meal, which according to some was the cheapest meal presently for the common wananchi.
Mercy Mwangi a mother of three and a widow who runs a small eatery in Kiambu told KNA that it was not easy to provide for her family because the little she makes from the business can only sustain her business following the price hike in food commodities.
“I have been having a challenge because most clients will not agree to me hiking the price of food considering the situation and they in turn opt not to come to my kibanda at all, but with the government directive on maize flour price reduction I am hoping to regain customers who had stopped coming,” she said.
Ms Mwangi told KNA that she normally sells Ugali/Mboga at Sh80 and when the prices of Unga shot up she tried to adjust upwards by Sh20 to Sh100 but most customers complained and moved to look for alternative.
A spot check by KNA on Thursday found a 2kg packet of maze flour going for Sh99 at Cleanshelf, Kamindi, Naivas and Kiambu Mall supermarkets.
However, for the small retail traders operating kiosks, most said they were not ready to reduce the price since the stock they have had been purchased at a higher price.
“I need to make my profit which is not a lot by selling this stock I have at the prices of Sh230 otherwise it will mean shutting down my Duka for selling the flour at a loss,” said Wangui Kinge who runs a small shop in Kiambu .
For one couple who run a wholesale shop in Kiambu town and did not want to reveal their names, the reduction of the Unga, albeit good, found them off guard as they had just purchased and restocked their shop with Unga at a high price.
“The government should have given us at least a notice before the decision, we have more than 50 bales of maize flour in our stock and now we are wondering how we will clear it.
We bought the stock at a high price and have been selling the 2kg maize flour at Sh200; now because the government has cut the price down to 100, we don’t know how we are going to manage and who is going to compensate us so that we can be able to even recover equivalent of what we spent purchasing the stock,” the shop owner said.
President Uhuru Kenyatta met with the Millers Association of Kenya and announced that the government will cater for part of the production cost.
The initiative for price reduction happened after Kenyans time and again decried the high prices of food stuffs for a couple of months affecting both their businesses and livelihoods.
The President in his address to the nation on Wednesday 20th July directed that a subsidy on unga be implemented with immediate effect, after reaching an agreement with maize millers registered with the Agricultural Food Authority (AFA).
The government’s move to intervene in the staple maize flour pricing to cushion vulnerable households in Kenya has also seen it coming up with various mitigations to arrest the situation on high food prices.
Today Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya is expected to give an update on the implementation and progress of the fifth Stimulus Programme covering the distribution of maize meal across the entire country as announced by the President.