2017-06-12 Source: allafrica
An acute shortage of maize flour has hit Nyandarua County.The stocks began vanishing from retail shelves on Monday and by Thursday, most shops and supermarkets had nothing.
Hotels and butcheries went without ugali, a compulsory delicacy for thousands of customers.
The few eateries with ugali reduced the size of the Sh50 slice by half.
Traders with limited supplies of the flour forced customers to buy slow-moving items as a condition for getting the flour.
Such items included packets of tea leaves or dusty jelly nearing their expiry dates for every packet of flour sought by the customer.
In hotels and butcheries, a slice of ugali that normally sells for Sh50 was reduced by nearly a half from normal size.
The few outlets with limited stocks of the flour raised the price by between Sh30 and Sh45 in a day.
"Just yesterday, I bought a 2kg Pembe maize flour at Sh130, today I bought the same packet at Sh165," said a customer Njeri Waiganjo.
In the same outlet, a two-kg Snowline Afya Ugali retailed at Sh180 on Monday but was yesterday selling at Sh225.
This was the only brand left on the shelves that had mountains of stocks from different millers a day ago.
Aloise Wanyoike feels that the traders conspired to cause an artificial shortage.
On Tuesday evening, he visited a supermarket in Ol Kalou town looking for the Snowline Afya Ugali, but found it missing from the shelves.
In some retail shops with limited stocks, the owners restricted a packet for each customer, but the challenge was that the flour was a preserve for loyal customers.
A cereals dealer Reuben Mwangi suspects foul play.
"I do not understand what is causing this maize flour shortage. It doesn't add up considering the amount of money the government has invested in addressing the shortage," said Mr Mwangi.
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