The Cereal Millers Association (CMA) has sounded an alarm of a possible increase of maize flour prices due to lack of coordination and communication between relevant government and regulatory agencies.
According to the association, this poor coordination has resulted in to uncertainties with regards to the recent ban on maize imports from Uganda and Tanzania.
The Association pleaded with the government that quality maize which is held by traders and farmers within the three borders be made immediately available to millers to ensure that supply of maize flour is not impeded during this period.
The CMA in a statement sent to newsrooms on Tuesday, said that in as much as it welcomes the ban on maize that contains aflatoxin levels above the 10 parts per billion (ppb) thresholds, it is requesting the government to allow maize that does not breach this level be allowed to avoid a grain shortage.
The CMA submitted that in Nairobi, the prices of raw grain have moved to Sh2, 800 from Sh2, 500.
Consequently, the Association said that the price of a maize flour bale has increased to Sh1, 250 with room for a further price increment should the situation not be resolved immediately.
“Kenya consumes an average of three (3) million 90kg bags per month and some of this maize must be imported due to differences in harvesting periods in various counties,” read the statement in part.
It further requested the government to immediately constitute a joint task force to ensure that there is full coordination and communication of the current maize restriction and ensure involvement of all regulators.
“In the interim, destination inspection should be performed so that clean maize can be cleared. If required KEBS, Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) and accredited laboratories should test for aflatoxins at the border point to avoid further delays,” read its recommendation in part.
The CMA observed that these measures will protect Kenyan consumers from higher food prices.
The Agriculture and Food Authority in a letter dated March 5th said maize from the two countries have revealed high levels of mycotoxins “that are consistently beyond safety limits of 10 parts be billion.
The Ministry of Agriculture Cabinet Secretary (CS), Peter Munya, however, stated that AFA has not stopped importation of maize from Uganda and Tanzania but to check the quality of maize coming into the country.
“The lorries at the Namanga border would be cleared after undergoing further tests,” Munya had said, allaying fears the country has banned maize from her two neighbours.
By Alice Gworo