Ugali is undoubtedly the most popular staple food in Kenya, and as a result, there has been a surge in the number of maize flour milling companies in the country. The demand for maize flour is driven by the high consumption rates of ugali, a trend that has been prevalent in the country for years.
Despite the high demand for maize flour, the cost of basic commodities has skyrocketed, and in response, the government ordered a reduction in the cost of unga by over 50% on July 18. However, there is limited information available on the Kenyan billionaires who make critical decisions on the distribution of this staple food to the over 48 million Kenyans in the country.
The multi-billion-dollar maize flour milling industry in Kenya is controlled by a group of wealthy individuals, who play a significant role in determining the production and distribution of maize flour. These individuals are powerful figures in the country’s economy and have a considerable influence on the lives of ordinary Kenyans.
The millers behind the companies responsible for producing the maize flour that goes into the making of ugali are not commonly known to the public. This lack of transparency raises concerns about the role of these powerful figures in the country’s food supply chain and their potential impact on the prices and availability of this staple food.
In conclusion, while ugali remains the most popular food in Kenya, the lack of information about the individuals who control the production and distribution of maize flour is worrying. It is essential to promote transparency in the industry to ensure that ordinary Kenyans have access to affordable and high-quality maize flour, a crucial component in their daily diets.
1. Capwell Industries Limited
The company manufactures high-quality maize flour under the brands Soko Maize Meal and Amaize.
Dalichand Shah is the chairman of the company. He started his career in the industry in 1962 when he joined his brothers in the bakery industry where he remained until 1996 before starting the Capwell Group in 1999. The company is headquartered in the industrial town of Thika.
2. Unga Limited
It manufactures the leading brand of sifted maize meal known as Jogoo, which is a household name in most Kenyan homes.
Key faces at the management of the miller is Isabella Ochola Wilson, the Chairperson of the Board, and Nicholas Hutchinson – the Group Chief Executive Officer.
3. Mombasa Maize Millers
The company is among the largest millers of maize and wheat in the country with branches in Nairobi, Kisumu, Mombasa, Kitale and Nakuru. It produces maize flour under the customised brands Ndovu, Cosmo, Bahari and Swan.
Founded in 1978, it is associated with the family of Mombasa millionaire, Mohammed Islam Ali, who established the company with his brother Ahmed Ali.
Not to be left out is Embakasi-based Alpha Grain Millers, whose origin is Moyale, where it started as a distribution company in the 1970s.
4. Giant Millers Limited
Giant Millers Limited is a Kenya-based company that processes, produces and sells maize flour branded Canna Maize Flour. Its managing Director is Agnes Irungu.
5. Pembe Flour Mills Limited
It is one of the leading milling companies in Kenya that manufactures the popular Pembe Maize Flour, which is a recognised brand in many households and is renowned for its consistent quality.
The company is managed by a Tanzania citizen, Riaz Jaffer.
6. United Millers
The company is involved in the production of consistently high-quality flour known as Jambo Maize Meal that is fortified with necessary vitamins and minerals.
The company is owned by a Kisumu-based tycoon, Sunil Shah.
Main staples of Kenyan food and cuisine are Maize meal and rice. Ugali is usually served as a white stiff porridge, good for dipping in stews or making into a makeshift spoon when you eat with your hands.