The Kenyan government now says it will import maize in bulk to cushion Kenyans from the rising price of maize flour
The price of 2kg maize flour has surged by 11.1 percent to Ksh.149 from Ksh.134 in February.
According to Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya, the government will import maize from countries outside East African Communities (EAC).
This is expected to happen in the coming days.
“We are going to run out of maize in the next few months and to control the rising cost of flour, we need to import the produce,” said Munya.
Munya said the decision to import maize will force indigenous maize farmers who have been hoarding their produce to release it to the market.
In February, a 90kg bag of maize retailed between Ksh.3,250 and Ksh.2,300. It has since gone up to Ksh.4,500.
Farmers have been holding onto 85 percent of the total stock of maize in the county, as they anticipate better prices in the future.
Kenya imported an estimated 277,350 tons of maize or 3.1 million 90kg bags in 2020. A large bulk of these imports of 95 percent came from Uganda and Tanzania.
The last time maize was imported from outside EAC was in July 2020 when a total of 88,000 tonnes of maize from Mexico arrived at the Port of Mombasa.
The batch comprised 44,000 tonnes of yellow maize and 44,000 tonnes of white maize.
This was informed by concern by millers that they could not get maize from the neighbouring countries and needed to get it from Mexico.
“Importing maize from Mexico would take about two months to get it shipped in the country, hence the extension till July,” said Munya, then.
EAC Maize Import Ban
On March 5 last year, Kenya’s Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) blocked maize imports from EAC citing tests on the grain from Uganda and Tanzania that revealed mycotoxins’ levels beyond safety limits.
Burundi had also announced a similar ban after its health ministry found high levels of toxic carcinogens in imported maize.
According to Kenya’s Agriculture Chief Administrative Secretary Lawrence Angolo, Kenya expects its EAC trading partners to trade safe maize as per the regional blocks’ standards.