Maize imports down 26pc on restricted Tanzania, Uganda shipments


A truck loaded with imported maize from Tanzania in Mombasa in August 2019. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA

Maize imports to Kenya declined 26 percent in the seven months to July as restrictions on produce coming in from Tanzania and Uganda in the first quarter of the year impacted volumes.

Ministry of Agriculture says the volume declined to 2.24 million bags in the review period from 3.04 million bags in the first seven months of last year.

Kenya had in April banned imports of maize from Uganda and Tanzania on concerns of the high levels of aflatoxin, which the authorities said exceeded the required 10 parts per billion as required under the country’s jurisdiction.

However, the Tanzanian stalemate was resolved in May when President Samia Suluhu visited Nairobi for a bilateral meeting.

The deal saw the imports jump more than six times between May and July from a low of 16,000 bags in April on the back of trade negotiation between the two leaders that saw the ban lifted.

“The total maize imports from January to July stands at 2.24 million bags compared to a total of 3.07 million bags imported at the same period in 2020,” said the ministry.

Imports from Tanzania have been increasing since May when the ban was lifted and the volumes grew to 565,000 bags from 298,000 in June. In July, the imports went up to 882,000 bags.

The rise in imports has helped in checking the high price of flour, which has now declined to less than Sh100 for a two-kilo packet.

A two-kilo packet of Jogoo brand is now retailing at Sh99 down from Sh109, Soko is selling at Sh96 down from Sh104 with Mama going at Sh96.

The decline is in response to the falling price of maize, which accounts for 80 percent of the total cost involved in the milling of flour.