Yellow maize importers face losses as prices of local white grain drop – Business Daily
Yellow maize being offloaded at Mombasa port. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Animal feed producers who imported yellow maize in bulk last month are staring at losses after the price of local white maize fell below that of their imported stock, leaving them struggling to find buyers without taking a price hit.
A 90 kilogramme bag of the imported yellow maize is selling at Sh5,600 against Sh5,300 that white maize is selling locally.
Large-scale millers had imported the yellow maize for their own use and for sale to other small-scale feed manufacturers who did not have the financial muscle to ship in the grain. At the time of importing, local grain was selling at Sh6,000 per bag.
The higher cost means that even if they process the yellow grain into feed, they would still require to sell it at a higher price than what other millers using local white maize are selling, making their product uncompetitive in the market.
“Millers who imported yellow maize are now stuck with it because it’s expensive to sell it locally when compared with available white maize at the market,” said Joseph Karuri, chairperson Association of Kenya Feed Manufacturers.
The situation could get worse as farmers in some parts of the country are about to start harvesting the main season crop, meaning that the cost of the produce will drop even further, subjecting millers in possession of the yellow maize to massive losses.
Maize prices have now dropped from the high of Sh6,000 for a 90 kilo- bag in July to Sh5,300 helped by the harvesting of short rain crop in parts of South Rift.
The yellow maize was being imported from Ukraine and had to take a longer route to Serbia and Romania following the blockade along the Black Sea occasioned by the ongoing war between Kyiv and Moscow.
The Treasury allowed millers to import up to 400,000 tonnes of yellow maize but its expensive nature has seen them ship in a paltry 80,000 tonnes.
The delays in importing yellow maize have seen the price of feeds remain at historic levels, piling pressure on the cost of animal products.
The price of a 70 kilogramme bag of layers marsh has now jumped to Sh4,500 from Sh3,800 in April, chick mash is going for Sh4,940 from Sh4,200 while dairy meal is now selling at Sh2,850 from Sh2,500, pointing to tough times for consumers who will have to absorb extra cost when buying animal products such as eggs.