Commodities

Millers fault slow maize imports clearance nod

maize

A customer buys maize from Uganda at a market near the Busia border. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • The Cereal Millers Association (CMA) said the lack of coordination among State agencies involved in issuing the clearance meant to stop the influx of maize with high aflatoxin levels has locked out safe grain from the region.
  • The lobby is also asking the government to compel farmers hoarding maize in anticipation of higher prices to release it into the market to ease supply shortfalls.

Cereal millers have called on the government to streamline the process of issuing the certificates of conformity needed by maize importers before shipping in grain from neighbouring Uganda to avert a supply shortage in the country.

The Cereal Millers Association (CMA) said the lack of coordination among State agencies involved in issuing the clearance meant to stop the influx of maize with high aflatoxin levels has locked out safe grain from the region, fuelling a shortage that, if not averted, would lead to an increase in the price of flour.

The lobby is also asking the government to compel farmers hoarding maize in anticipation of higher prices to release it into the market to ease supply shortfalls.

“The CMA is recommending…temporary lifting of the requirement for certificates of conformity until the processes are seamless,” said the association.

“In the interim destination inspection should be performed so that clean maize can be cleared. If required Kebs (Kenya Bureau of Standards), AFA (Agriculture and Food Authority) and accredited laboratories should test for aflatoxins at the border point to avoid further delays.”

The millers added that the price of raw grain for a 90-kilogramme bag has increased to Sh2,800 from Sh2,500 in Nairobi due to supply hitches, with a bale of flour now selling at Sh1,500.

The State last month banned maize imports from Tanzania and Uganda, citing high levels of aflatoxin but later rescinded the order and instead instituted tougher measures for importers.

The Agriculture ministry directed that maize importers must be registered while those shipping maize from Uganda are required to have the certificate of conformity for clearance at border points. Kenya serves as a major market for Ugandan maize, with most of the produce brought in by millers.