Press Center | Freight Shipping Logistics News
Hopes of cheaper food prices were raised on Thursday when maize imported by the government reached the port of Mombasa.
The new supplies are likely to reduce the price of flour, which has gone through the roof in the last few weeks. On Thursday, 250,000 bags of South African maize, which arrived in the country last Saturday aboard the MV Voge Paul, were being offloaded.
Another ship, the MV Gomain Nare, docked at the port on Thursday with another 250,000 bags. Also on Thursday, National Cereals and Produce Board received 1.18 million bags of fertiliser, which will be taken directly to the major maize-growing areas.
Board spokesman Evans Wasike said they had opted for the conventional method of offloading the maize to avoid congestion at the Kenya Grain Bulk Handling facility, which is handling imports by other players.
“While the facility offloads grain faster, it takes longer to bag it, hence the conventional method where it is bagged at the point of discharge, allowing quicker release,” Mr Wasike said.
More maize imports are expected in the next two weeks as the government and private sector move to boost maize stocks by five million bags. The government is importing two million bags while the private sector will import three million bags duty-free.
Seven shiploads of maize and five of wheat are expected to dock in March. The grain reserves have been depleted to below 800,000 bags against a target of eight million bags.
The shortage led to a sharp rise in the price of maize flour, which shot up to Sh130 in December 2008 compared to Sh48 in 2007. A two-kilo packet retails at an average price of Sh92, up from Sh78 in January.
By OLIVER MATHENGE
PARASTATAL heads who signed the Mombasa port community charter risk being sacked if their agencies do not deliver on the contents of the new entity. The charter signed between the government and the private sector aims at improving the movement of cargo from the port into hinterland