Kenya says measures in place to curb rising food prices

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) — The Kenyan government said on Sunday that it has taken action to contain rising food prices.

State House Spokesperson Manoah Esipisu said to help bring stability that was required in the maize flour prices, a series of actions were taken over time and not overnight.

“It is not lost to many of us that our region has endured one of the severest droughts in our history. Our production of maize and supply of food have been strained. Kenyans have had to work harder to put maize flour on their tables. The president recognized that for many of us, this has been a real struggle,” Esipisu told journalists in Nairobi.

He said President Uhuru Kenyatta recognized the misery caused by the strained maize production and supply of food occasioned by one of the severest droughts in the country’s history and measures have been taken to bring down the cost of maize flour.

“The bottom line for us is that unga (maize flour) is affordable again to the ordinary Kenyan and no matter the amount of debate or the amount of inquisition, there is likely nothing that can be done to change the fact that 2kg of maize flour cost 0.90 U.S. dollars,” Esipisu said.

“This series of actions outlined have been taken over time, they weren’t taken overnight, and all of them have contributed to getting the stability that was required in the maize flour prices.”

The remarks come as Kenya introduced the subsidy program early this week to sell a two kilogram packet of maize at 0.90 dollars that was previously selling at 1.80 dollars.

Under the program, Kenya will buy the maize at 36 dollars per 90 kg and sell it to millers at 23 dollars. Kenya has set aside 60 million dollars to finance the program.

On April 13, Kenya waived import duty on maize to encourage importers to bridge the production deficit so as put downward pressure on the price of the staple food.