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Government To Start Importing Duty-Free Maize Next Year

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Government To Start Importing Duty-Free Maize Next Year

By Jane Muia / Published November 30, 2022 | 11:39 am

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Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi told the parliament that the import window will be opened on February 1, 2023, and will run for three months until April 31, 2023. The CS said his ministry is planning to import 900,000 tonnes or 10 million bags of white duty-free maize to ease the surging cost of the country’s staple.

maize imports

The government through the ministry of agriculture will start importing duty-free maize from February next year.

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mithika Linturi told the parliament that the import window will be opened on February 1, 2023, and will run for three months until April 31, 2023. The CS said his ministry is planning to import 900,000 tonnes or 10 million bags of white duty-free maize to ease the surging cost of the country’s staple.

“The government plans to allow maize imports from the region. The ministry has prepared a Cabinet memo to import maize duty-free to evade hunger,” Mr. Linturi said in a statement read on the floor of Parliament by Majority leader Kimani Ichung’wah.

The prevailing drought in the country has seen the price of grain record a historic high adding pressure on the cost of maize flour which is the main meal in many households. A 90-kg bag of maize has hit 6,000 shillings from 5,000 shillings last month despite harvesting.

This is the first time in Kenya that the wholesale price of maize has crossed the 6,000 shillings mark at a time when farmers are harvesting the main crop for the year. Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria accused farmers of hoarding at least 20 million bags of maize in anticipation of good prices in the coming days.

Kenya is an importer of maize mainly from East African Uganda and Tanzania. Imports from these two countries are usually duty-free. Each consignment arriving in the country must 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 must be below ten parts per billion (ppb) as per Kenyan standards.

The Agriculture Ministry said the country imports four to six million bags of maize annually with Most of the maize being imported by the private sector and relief agencies.

The ministry projects that the country will have 14.8 million surplus bags by January once the short rains crop is harvested.

Related Content: Maize Flour Prices Hit Historic High Despite Harvesting

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