Kenyans have persevered the biting drought that hit the country at the beginning of the year, with prices of essential commodities such as maize flour, sugar and milk increasing drastically.
A liter of milk went from Sh50 to an average of Sh70, and a kilo of sugar costing Sh200.
These basic commodities became a luxury to many as they could not keep up with the prices.
A casual laborer is said to have allegedly stabbed his wife to death after quarreling over ”too small portion of ugali (cornmeal)” served to him by the wife.
The 33-year-old Patrick Odudo who lived with his wife in Babadogo has since gone into hiding according to the area police.
The government has dispatched consignments of subsidized maize flour to local stores, but the public is still to feel the change as prices have remained the same as traders try to clear old stocks
Curious shoppers thronged different shopping outlets all over the country on Wednesday to buy the government’s subsidized sh90 2kg maize flour; to their dismay, the prices had not come down yet as promised on Tuesday by Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett.
The proprietors of upcountry stores have said they are yet to receive the subsidized maize flour and have to sell off their stock which they had before the announcement of the subsidized price.
“We do not have information yet regarding the subsidized maize flour or when we can expect it and again, we have old stock which we bought at a much higher price so we have to clear it while waiting for the GoK branded sh90 maize flour,” said one supermarket owner.
Only one store in Eldoret was selling the government branded maize flour at sh90. Customers swarmed the store and one would buy up to a bale.
However, in other major cities, the government-subsidized flour was available in most stores, but shoppers were limited to buying not more than two packets of 2kgs each.
The CS on Tuesday raised the hopes of Kenyans after announcing that effective Wednesday, a 2kg packet of maize flour would cost sh90.
He said the country’s strategic grain reserve had released over 30, 000 tons of maize to millers at sh2, 300 to enable Kenyans to get it at affordable prices.
“As a result, a 2kg packet of maize flour will retail at sh90. This will be effected from tomorrow (Wednesday),” said the CS.
He also said that the price would remain constant until the next harvest when the situation normalizes and the prices will further go down.
Deputy President William Ruto on Tuesday when he appeared for an interview at Citizen TV said that the price changes may not take effect until the weekend due to logistical challenges.
He added said that as a government, they are focusing on strengthening irrigation all over the country in a bid to enhance food security.
The Deputy President also said that they are importing more maize, up to 3 million tons to ensure that prices of maize flour do not hit the ceiling once again.
Pharis Kinyua and Thuothuo Anthony contributed to this story