Linturi: Cost of unga to go down by Christmas

Agriculture and Livestock CS Mithika Linturi shop maize flours at Quickmatt Supermarket in Utawala, Nairobi on November 24, 2023. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Kenyans may buy Unga for as low as Sh120 by Christmas, Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives, Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi has said.

Speaking after an impromptu market survey across Nairobi supermarkets, Linturi said the cost of Unga is on a substantial decline.

“The government's intervention that targets to subsidize production are paying off gradually and we expect the prices of Unga to come down further in the coming weeks as we head towards Christmas,” Linturi said at Kawangware, Nairobi.

Linturi, who toured supermarkets across the city, expressed confidence that the prices would further reduce to Sh120 in the coming weeks.

He said that, presently, the cost of two kilogramme of the most economical Unga retails at retailing at Sh130 for popular brands in the areas of Kawangware, Kangemi and Kibra in Nairobi.

CS said this marks a substantial decrease from the Sh240 price tag when the Kenya Kwanza government took office.

“When the Kenya Kwanza government took office, the cheapest two kilogram of unga was selling at Sh240, but as you can see those prices have come down to between Sh130 and Sh170 for the most common brands,” he said.

In the select supermarkets Linturi visited, two kilogrammes of Simba unga was retailing at Sh130, Pembe was selling at Sh139 and Soko was priced at Sh159.

Linturi assured Kenyans that this year’s Christmas festivities would be more affordable with the cost of the staple food witnessing a substantial decrease.

He said the reduction of Unga prices was a pre-election campaign promise by President William Ruto in the last year elections.

Subsidies were introduced by his predecessor Uhuru Kenyatta to address the issue soaring cost of living where a two kg of unga exceeded Kes 200 mark for 2kg bag.

However, upon taking office, Ruto redirected subsidies from maize flour to fertilizers on what he said was to aim on the long-term strategy to lower overall food prices.

He said the quest to lower cost of Unga has been a priority for the Kenya Kwanza government.

Few months ago, Linturi sent warning shots to local maize millers who were yet to reduce maize flour prices following government’s interventions.

He even threatened to revoke their permits as he reiterated the government’s plan to lower the cost of production to cushion Kenyans from the high cost of living.

“When we made these promises, we knew we would deliver.  The government’s priority right now is to make sure the country is stable, and that is why we are asking Kenyans to be patient,” said Linturi.

On Friuday, Linturi attributed the reduced food prices to subsidized production costs.

He said that food security is a top priority for the Kenya Kwanza Government.

“We are collaborating closely with farmers to implement measures that boost yields and consolidate our food security agenda,” the CS said.

During the survey, the CS said that going forward, he will personally lead inspection visits to various regions to ensure that retailers prices of unga reflect the actual prices as guided by market forces.

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