Buyers surround a green maize roasting fireplace for a bite. The maize price has risen by more than ten times in Mombasa. Photo by Saijiki for Kenya and other tropical regions.
The cost of green maize has risen by more than 10 times in Mombasa as the rains set the stage of recovery from the just ended drought.
When green maize is in plenty, a bag of 115kg cost between Sh800 and Sh1,200.
The same bag is selling at Sh8,000 on wholesale, according to the Agriculture and Food Authority – an agency under the Ministry of Agriculture.
This is the highest price for fresh maize so far in the country, rising more than three times what is being paid in Nakuru town.
In Nakuru, the fresh maize is selling at Sh2,500 while wholesalers in Nairobi, Kisumu, Eldoret and Malindi are paying Sh3,300, Sh3,200, Sh3,000 and Sh3,300 respectively.
The low cost of the maize in Nakuru can be attributed to the fact that the town is a farming county.
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The government has subsidized the cost of dry maize to cushion consumers against the sharp shortage that has led to doubling of the flour.
A 90kg bag of dry maize this week was sold at Sh6,300 in Busia, while the price hovered from Sh4,000 to Sh5,000 in most towns across the country.
Zacchary Masing’a, trader in the Kongowea Market, argues that the cost is more than double in Mombasa than its coastal town counterpart Malindi because of demand variation.
“Both towns are on the coastal strip. They largely depend on maize from up country. The price difference may be as a result of the higher demand in Mombasa for the commodity, than in Malindi,” he said.
Malindi is about 135 kilometers from Mombasa.
Green maize is roasted in open air markets, alongside roads, bus stations and other places with high human traffic. The maize is also boiled and sold with the cobs intact.
It is also shelled boiled together with beans for githeri nyoyo or pure.
It is a common delicacy for ready to eat. It can also be fried. It is a common food in construction sites. Drought caused a surge in the price of commodities in the country, with maize being the crop on focus for it is the staple delicacy of most families in Kenya.
Green vegetables also soared in price, but the rains – which have fallen for more than a month, have caused the costs to normalize.