Gov’t allays fears over alleged maize shortage in Kenya

The Ministry of Agriculture Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives has allayed fears over alleged maize shortage in the country. In a statement, the ministry said projections up to the end of May 2021 indicate a surplus of 11,807,681 90kg bags, with the price of maize expected to remain stable. “Currently, the wholesale maize price is averaging Ksh. 2,600 per 90 kg bag, with the highest prices of up to Ksh. 4,392 reported in Garissa county and the lowest prices of Ksh. 1,980 in Laikipia county,” the ministry said on Tuesday. This after the Cereal Millers Association (CMA) criticised the ban on maize imports from Uganda and Tanzania claiming there was lack of coordination and communication between relevant government and regulatory agencies. CMA said this would result in increase of maize flour prices.   “The CMA welcomes the ban on maize that contains aflatoxin levels above the 10 parts per billion (ppb) threshold but is requesting the government to allow maize that does not breach this level be allowed to avoid a grain shortage,” the association said on Monday. However, the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) is said to be working in collaboration with the regulators and other Competent Authorities from the exporting countries to provide guidelines on how to meet the relevant East Africa Community (EAC) standards. The ministry has also issued a stern warning to culprits contravening the government directive on maize importation saying traders found culpable will be arrested and charged. “The Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC) and DCI are on high alert to deal with any corrupt officers and/or traders at border points who shall engage in corrupt practices in exchange for maize entry approval stamps without inspection and verification,” the statement reads. The ministry said registration of all dealers of food crops including the transporters, importers and processors as per the requirements of section 16 of the Crops Act, 2013 has begun; with all stakeholders equired to log on to for requirements for registration. The applicants are to be vetted and approval granted through issuance of a Registration Certificate. The ministry said successful applicants will be notified on the need to apply for pre shipment documents stating the source of produce, purpose and destination including the storage facility where the produce shall be offloaded. “The Government of Kenya has required its EAC Partner States to issue Certificates of Conformity (CoC) to all Kenya-bound consignments. These CoCs shall be issued by a Competent Authority from the exporting country processed through the KENTRADE single window system to be verified and approved by the crops inspectors. Additionally, random sampling shall be done at the border points with rapid testing to confirm that the grain is as per the conformity certificate issued by the exporting country,” the statement adds. Meanwhile, 39 lorries that were carrying ‘unsafe’ maize into Kenya from Uganda have been intercepted in Busia. According to the ministry, unscrupulous businessmen have tried to sneak in maize through non- gazetted border points, with law enforcement agencies reported to have intercepted 39 lorries that were ferrying maize from Uganda. 25 lorries are being held at Busia police station while 14 are at Adungosi, with the Ministry stating that it has heightened surveillance along all border points through its Agriculture and Food Authority.

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