In a gazette notice dated Friday, May 20, Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani said that the first consignment of maize from Outside the East African Community would arrive in the country on or before August 6th, 2022 after the government introduced a waiver on the import duty of the commodity.
However, this was not been implemented as it was earlier pledged by the CS. The government has now extended the dates until September 30, in a fresh move to allow maize importers to ship in the commodity to ease the pressure on the cereal and its products.
“It is notified for the general information of the public that, upon recommendation by the Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, the Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury amends the Gazette Notice No. 5544 of May 9, 2022, by deleting the words “August 6, 2022” and substituting therefor the words “September 30, 2022,” Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani said in a gazette notice.
According to Yattani, each consignment arriving in the country will have to comply with requirements such as having a moisture content not exceeding 13.5 percent as provided under the laws of Kenya. similarly, the aflatoxin levels shall not exceed ten parts per billion (ppb) as per the Kenyan standards.
Kenya is an importer of maize mainly from East African Uganda and Tanzania. Imports from these two countries are usually duty-free. According to data from the ministry of agriculture, the country imported maize valued at 4.2 billion shillings from Tanzania in 2019.
In 2020, Kenya imported about 277,350 tonnes of maize (3.1 million 90kg bags) with about 95 percent of this coming from Uganda and Tanzania. Similarly, In January last year, Kenya imported over 450,000 bags (90kg bags) of maize from both Tanzania and Uganda and another 300,000 bags in February of the same year.
Uganda exports at least 90 percent of its maize to Kenya with a cumulative average of 330,620 tonnes. Imports from Uganda have been poor in the last couple of months as most stocks from Uganda were heading to South Sudan, where they were fetching a better price. Kenya has been relying on maize imports from Zambia and Malawi, with the supply still low.
Millers say imports from these two countries were a bit expensive with a 90-kilogram bag landing at 5,200 shillings in Nairobi. Imports from countries that are not members of the East African Community (EAC) attract a 50 percent tariff.
According to the chairman of the Grain Belt Millers Association Kipng’etich Mutai Kenya now has a sufficient stock of maize following the harvest in parts of Western Kenya and the arrival of cheap produce from Tanzania and Zambia.