Millers yet to meet directive on maize import, says lobby

By Nicholas Waitathu
Wednesday, April 7th, 2021
In summary

AFLATOXIN: None of the local maize importers have met  the requirements issued by the Ministry of Agriculture last month to ensure that food coming into the country is safe for human consumption.

United Grain Millers Association chairman Ken Nyaga said none of the local millers has met all the conditions outlined by the ministry over maize imports from the East African Community (EAC) partner states.

“I do not know of any miller that so far has complied. However, we are in the process of complying with the directives,” he said.

Nyaga disclosed that banning of imports has not affected the local prices of maize flour as they are still selling a bale of white maize flour at between Sh980 and Sh1100.

Hoarding maize

“But soon the prices are likely to increase as farmers have started hoarding maize,” he warned a phone interview with Business Hub.

Nyaga noted that even maize being sold, especially from some regions such as Ukambani, also have high levels of aflatoxin.

Ministry of Agriculture directed last month that all stakeholders dealing in maize imports would be required to be registered, the consignments coming in must be accompanied with a certificate of conformity on aflatoxin levels and that traders have to issue details of their warehouses.

The certificate of conformity should indicate that the aflatoxin levels comply with the maximum required levels of 10 parts per billion.

Agriculture Cabinet secretary Peter Munya confirmed that the millers are currently registering online as he directed early last month, but none is yet to meet the outlined conditions.

He explained that the ministry never banned maize imports from the neighbouring countries but only tightened importation processes  to protect local consumers from produce that have high levels of aflatoxins.

Munya added that all the institutions charged with imports have been activated to address the safety of local consumers.

He said Agriculture and Food Authority has been directed to ensure maize coming into the country has the required aflatoxin levels of 10 parts per billion.

The CS said maize consignments coming into the country must be accompanied with certificates of conformity on aflatoxin levels and that maize traders have to issue the details of their warehouses.

“The details on the warehouse would help in ensuring that the maize that is supplied to Kenya adhered to all standard procedures on food handling and that it was not dried on roads (tarmac), said Munya. 

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