Reprieve for Kenyans as government extends the cheap maize flour ahead of festive season

The subsidized maize flour was expected to end last month.

Coming just weeks before the festive season kicks in, the news is certainly welcome and Kenyans can go about their daily hustles knowing at least they can afford a plate of Ugali come Christmas and New year.

Agriculture Cabinet secretary Willy Bett on Tuesday said the Sh90-a-packet subsidised maize flour has been extended to the end of the year.

“We’ve agreed that the subsidy programme will officially come to an end on December 31,” said Mr Bett.

This is after the government and millers reached a deal to continue with the programme after the government gave access of about 1.7 million bags of subsidised maize to millers, cushioning consumers from a sharp rise in the staple food.

The minister said the decision to extend the subsidy was informed by the fact that the prices of flour would have shot up to levels beyond the current low of Sh90 for a two-kilo packet should the programme have been terminated.

Had the subsidy programme ended Kenyans would have been forced to dig deeper into their pockets and spend upwards of Sh130 – 150 for a 2kg packet of maize flour.

The situation has further been compounded by prolonged electioneering period which has resulted in cost of living shooting up.

The weather has not helped either, early last month Kenya Meterological Department warned that the December short rains would cease at a critical stage when the maize crop will be flowering, signaling fresh food shortage.

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