KENYA – The government of Kenya has endorsed the importation of additional 500,000 tonnes of white duty-free maize and 500,000 tonnes of rice to cushion consumers against the high cost of the staples due to acute shortage, The Nation has reported.
In the gazette notice dated March 17, Treasury Cabinet Secretary prof. Njuguna Ndung’u announced that the opened window will last from March 17 2023 to 6th August 6, 2023, and only registered millers and traders will be allowed to import the said commodities.
This comes when the country is yet to receive the previous import of 10 million bags (about 900 metric tonnes) of duty-free maize, however, a recent notice confirmed that 42,464 tonnes of the said maize has left the Port of Odesa in Ukraine ready to dock at the port anytime.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the delay in import was to allow millers to mop out local maize from farmers during the harvest season.
Kenya has been experiencing an acute maize shortage due to drought coupled with a high cost of fertilizers that raised the cost of production, prompting farmers to raise the price of their produce.
The result has been historically high maize prices which the government is trying to combat through a raft of measures including duty-free maize imports and fertilizer subsidies for farmers.
In the gazetted notice, the exchequer noted that the imported maize grain must meet certain quality standards such as moisture content not exceeding 13.5%, aflatoxin levels not exceeding 10 parts per billion (ppb),
In addition, the registered millers and traders must ensure that the consignment has a certification by the Kenya Bureau of Standards and the Department of Public Health.
In addition, the window will allow animal feed manufacturers to import 500,000 tonnes of yellow maize, 250,000 tonnes of soya bean meal, and 150,000 tonnes of soya bean.
The notice also revealed that 1,600 tonnes of assorted protein concentrates, 30,000 tonnes of food additives, 7,500 tonnes of enzymes, and 37,500 tonnes of premix ingredients are among the allowed consignment into the country.
Kiambu takes a step forward to increase production this season
Meanwhile, as the long-awaited rains fall across the country signaling hope for farmers, the Kiambu county plans on distributing farm inputs as a way of tackling the rising food insecurity and economic empowerment.
Dr. Kimani Wamatangi, the county Governor and his deputy Rosemary Kirika held a strategy meeting with technical staff from the department of agriculture and livestock to discuss and plan strategies to ensure the effective distribution of inputs to farmers across the county.
According to Kilimo News, the county plans to dispatch certified maize and bean seeds worth KES 30M (US$230,061) and KES 5M (US$38,344) respectively during this planting season.
The executives also revealed the plan will also include coffee fertilizer for the cooperatives (30 million) and avocado seedlings (60, 000) fingerlings, three-month-old piglets, and kienyeji chicks for farmers in all 60 wards.