Imports of yellow maize await fresh GMO rule changes


Yellow maize being offloaded at Mombasa port. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Animal feed manufacturers will have to wait longer before they can import yellow maize as the review made on the quality of the commodity has been sent to the Attorney General’s office for concurrence even as the importation window has been extended.

The government in November last year opened a six-month window for the importation of yellow maize but none was shipped in because the processors said they could not source the commodity that is 100 percent pure in terms of GMO content.

Livestock PS Harry Kimtai said the changes made on the previous gazette notice reducing the GMO purity threshold to 99.1 percent are now with the AG before they are sent to the printer for gazettement.

ALSO READ: Animal feed prices to jump Sh400 on biting maize shortage

“The new requirements are now with the Attorney General for review after which we shall have them gazetted,” said Mr Kimtai.

“We have extended the window for imports by another six months in the new notice that we shall be publishing soon in the gazette,” said Mr Kimtai.

The PS said the move is to enable processors to bring in the commodity duty-free before the window is reversed.

Mr Kimtai said the government is expediting the process to ensure that the manufacturers bring in yellow maize on time to lower the current high cost of feeds.

The current average price of a 70 kilogramme bag of dairy meal is Sh2,700 from Sh2,000 a year ago with layers going for Sh4,000 from Sh3,200, while pig feed is at Sh3,000 from Sh2,400 previously.

Association of Kenya Animal Feeds Manufacturers Secretary-General Martin Kinoti said the high cost of raw materials occasioned by the current shortage has seen processors operate at 40 percent of their installed capacity while many more have had to close their businesses.

“About 37 millers have so far closed because they could not cope with the shortage of key ingredients used in making feeds at the market,” said Mr Kinoti.

ALSO READ: Animal feed prices stay high on maize imports nod delay

Mr Kinoti lamented that the high cost of feeds has made it difficult for their products to move in the market as farmers cut down on the quantities that they would buy previously, because of the price factor, which is beyond their reach.

Some of the supplements that have recorded an acute shortage include soya meal, cotton seed cake and sunflower cake.