Why poor roads might be behind hike in Unga prices

Kenyans have been grappling with the rising cost of food prices for many years now. The nation’s staple food, maize has been at the forefront of ridiculous price increase even as the government continues working to avert what could become a food crisis in the near future.

The government has now announced that the price of ‘unga’ will drop by Sh10 from next week. Currently, the price of two kilograms of maize flour retails from between Sh90 to Sh120.

As much as cartels have been blamed for the ‘unga’ menace, other unknown factors may be at play in what is becoming a headache to mwananchi. One of these factors is poor infrastructure which has been linked to increasing prices of food.

Having poor roads means maize farmers have difficulty in delivering maize to the millers which in turn creates limited access to the market.

To reduce transaction costs in the maize sector, the government should improve the road infrastructure connecting production areas with the markets for faster and efficient production which means the prices will remain steady.

Horrible roads mean farmers have to hike prices of maize to compensate transport cost, making the millers to also hike the price of flour.

Good food storage infrastructure is essential for long term food security.  Maize farmers can lose large quantities of their cereals leading to a deficit in the supply to maize millers who will then have to source for other alternatives. They may have to increase the price of packaged flour to cover up logistic costs incurred.

Poor irrigation systems cause constrain in maize farming. There may be inadequate water supply which translates to low-quality production.

Millers might have to look for better quality products which might cost them more. The money will, in turn, be recovered in form of hiked maize flour prices.


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