Friday October 4 2013

East Africa raises alarm over increase in maize prices

By Monitor Correspondent

Nairobi -Maize prices in East Africa have nearly doubled over the last two years because of increased demand, especially from Kenya and Tanzania.

East African Community deputy secretary-general Jesca Eriyo said the prices have risen by a quarter above the 2011 levels and by up to 90 per cent above the average price five years ago.
“Demand for maize continues to rise in the region and that is why prices have soared by 25 per cent above what they were in 2011,” said Ms Eriyo during the fifth African Grain Summit that ended in Mombasa on Wednesday.

East Africa produces 12.13 million tonnes of maize annually but this is inadequate with 90 per cent of Kenya’s and 82 per cent of Tanzania’s population depending on the commodity as a staple.
The Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (Asareca) said high and volatile food prices in Eastern and Central Africa since 2008 hindered the war against hunger and poverty.

“The rise in food prices has affected the highly traded staple food such as maize, rice and beans. It has also caught up with all foods such as millet, sweet potatoes, meat and milk,” said Asareca executive director Fina Opiyo.