Kenyan government slashes price of popular food staple

 17 May 2017 - 10:58

Kenyan government slashes price of popular food staple
File Photo.


NAIROBI, Kenya: Under fire for rising food prices, Kenya’s government Tuesday slashed the cost of maize flour, a popular staple.

Willy Bett, Kenya’s agriculture secretary, said that the price of unga (sifted maize flour), used to make the popular Ugali, will fall nearly 44 percent from 160 Kenyan shillings (roughly $1.6) to 90 Kenyan shillings ($0.9) per two-kilogram packet.

“A two-kg packet of maize flour will retail at 90 Kenya shillings starting from tomorrow on Wednesday," he said, adding that the change is just a temporary intervention until the country’s food stocks normalize.

In recent days Kenyans have heavily criticized President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government for sharp rises in the cost of living, especially the price of food, in the East African country, where four in 10 Kenyans live below the poverty line, earning less than $1 a day. 

The government is also under fire over maize it imported from Mexico via South Africa, with some Kenyans alleging that the maize is yellow and not fit for human consumption, a claim the government denies.

Millers around Kenya being issued imported maize and required to sell the product at subsidized prices as well as overdependence on rain and poor government planning have been cited as the main reasons for the high prices.

The government has lifted all duties on maize imports in a bid to attract investors to help feed Kenya, where over 3 million are facing starvation due to a drought.