Tanzania has expressed interest in selling maize to Kenya in a three-month window to plug a deficit.
Tanzania’s Agriculture minister Japhet Hasunga said Kenya had requested the neighbour to allow direct sales to service the 12.5 million-bag import window.
“We are ready to grab the opportunity because we have surplus maize. In fact, Kenya requested us to sell 1.2 million bags of maize to them. We have not reached an agreement because the request did not come with a price offer,” he told our sister publication, The Citizen.
The windfall is aimed at easing maize shortage on Kenya that has seen a price surge to Sh112 for a two-kilo packet of milled flour from February’s Sh80.
The traders will in turn sell the same to millers and to the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB).
Mr Hasunga added that once the deal is sealed, Kenyan traders will have to obtain required permits and pay the relevant taxes.
Tanzania’s bumper harvest has helped ease inflation in the country of 57 million people to a 40-year low with last season’s harvest hitting 15.9 million bags against a demand of 13.3 million bags.
Kenya had said the planned 12.5 million bag maize import will comprise of 10 million white maize and the rest yellow type for animal feed manufacturing.
Last year, Kenya’s maize production rose 26 percent from 35.4 million bags in 2017 to 44.6 million bags in 2018, prompting a fall in maize imports from 119.7 million bags to 47.7 million.
Kenya consumes 52 million 90 kilo bags annually while last year’s production of 47.7 million bags means the difference will have to be imported. The situation has got worse as farmers reluctantly release the grain citing low prices.