Politics and policy
Kenya seizes macadamia nuts worth Sh20m destined for illegal export
Posted Wednesday, May 30 2012 at 14:45
Kenya's Agriculture ministry officials have intercepted more than 5,000 bags of unprocessed macadamia nuts worth more than Sh20 million at the port city of Mombasa.
The consignment found in a warehouse in Shimanzi was meant for export, which is against Kenyan law that prohibits exportation of any unprocessed nuts.
Horticultural Crops Development Authority Technical and Advisory Services general manager James Arim said they had been following leads from upcountry where the farm produce is suspected to have been harvested.
He said the bags weigh between 30 to 40 kilogrammes, adding that they were working closely with the Police to arrest the suspected unscrupulous businessmen involved in the syndicate.
“We have been informed three 40-foot containers each with more than 800 bags had left the same warehouse and we are closely following the leads to intercept them and those behind the illegal business,” said Mr Arim.
He added, “The consignment which left the warehouse last week is estimated to be worth more than Sh9 million.”
Speaking at the Shimanzi warehouse where the nuts were stored, he said they suspected some people arrested about two months ago to be the same owners of the shipment.
“We have also recovered several cartons which had the same brand as those we seized few months ago in Nairobi. We are connecting the cargo with those who are still in court but we are yet to confirm,” said the general manager.
Mr Arim said the owner of the warehouse will be charged of storing the macadamia nuts against the law.
“The law states that all nuts must be stored in a licensed warehouse and in Coast we only have one go-down permitted to store nuts which is in Kilifi,” he said.
The director in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Patrick Onchieku who accompanied the general manager said the consignments are usually smuggled out of the country through different border points including Mombasa port and land borders.
“We shall confiscate the goods as exhibit as the police launch manhunt on those involved in the exportation of the nuts illegally,” he added
The Kenya government banned exportation of raw cashew and macadamia nuts in 2009 to facilitate local processing to add value to them.