Kenyans on Thursday flocked supermarkets and stores to scramble for the government subsidized maize flour, which prompted the stockists to limit the number of packets of the commodity one could buy.
Several supermarkets in Nairobi, Nyeri, Kisumu, Kakamega, Eldoret, Thika, and Nakuru reported that they had ran out of 1kg and 2kg maize flour packets that were retailing at Sh90 and Sh47 respectively following the announcement of subsidy by the government that saw the prices reduce drastically.
According to the Standard, the government subsidized maize flour had not arrived in Mombasa, and a 2kg packet was still going at Sh143.
Tusky’s Supermarket stores in Nairobi who were the first to reduce the prices of maize flour after the government subsidy, allowed customer to only purchase a maximum of two packets of 2kgs maize flour.
Naivas Supermarkets boss said that the store was also going to limit the number of purchases depending of the stock available. “We are not limiting where we have enough stock,” Naivas chief commercial officer Willy Kimani said.
Geoffrey Kamau, a customer in Eldoret, expressed his happiness with the new affordable prices adding that the move is a reprieve to many families who had been forced to cut the number of meals to two, a day. “The past few months have been tough for me and my family. We are an ugali-loving family but since I could not afford to buy Unga at Sh150, we had to eat rice. My children would wake up late in the night complaining of hunger but now I can comfortably provide the flour for my family,” Kamau said.
Christine Ekai, another customer said: “I have always prayed that the price of Unga comes down and now God has done it for me through Jubilee. I pray that the price of sugar and milk comes down too so that the poor can also afford them.”
The move was however not received well by some shop keepers. Alex Mwangi, a supermarket proprietor, said that Government was inconsiderate and subjecting traders to massive losses as they were forced to sell the old stock at the same price as the subsidized one. “We have been forced to sell even the old stock at the lowered prices and will incur a loss of close to Sh50 for each packet of flour we sell,” Mwangi said.