– Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri said the maize importation will commence in July 2019
– He noted the country had run out of reserves and urged Treasury to fast-track approval for importation
– As of May 2019, there was only one month stock of the staple commodity available in the government stores
– The importation is expected to cushion consumers against hiked maize prices resulting from acute shortage
The government has given traders the green light to resume importation of maize in a move aimed at averting a looming acute shortage of the precious commodity in the country.
Local traders and millers are expected to use the import window to bring at least 12 million bags of maize effective from July 2019 when the government’s stock is projected to drop by about 4.3 million bags.
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Agriculture Cabinet Secretary (CS) Mwangi Kiunjuri while making the announcement said the country had run out of stocks and called on the National Treasury to fast-track approval of maize importation so as to prevent a potential crisis.
“We require to import 10 million bags between now (June 2019) and December (2019), that is white maize for human consumption.We are also required to import 2.5 million bags of maize to cushion dairy farmers,” he said on Saturday, June 8.
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Kiunjuri noted the country often relied on regional exporters like Uganda and Zambia to compensate for the deficit, but the prolonged drought that adversely affected Kenya’s agricultural sector did not spare the said markets.
The CS, however, cautioned the importation will be done strictly in line with the laid down rules and regulations so as to protect the consumers and also local farmers.
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There were concerns the country was facing a serious maize shortage crisis after Kiunjuri initially declined to authorise importation of duty-free maize into the country.
He argued such a move needed a Cabinet approval and also pointed out duty-free maize importation had become a controversial issue after the last process was hijacked by cartels, a situation he was trying to avoid.
As of May 2019, there was only one month stock of the staple food available in the stores to feed the country according to an earlier report by TUKO.co.ke.
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