FROM UGANDA, TANZANIA

Government stops maize imports over aflatoxin

Agriculture and Food Authority says imports have revealed high levels of mycotoxins that are beyond safety limits

In Summary

• Millers had imported an estimated 300,000 bags of maize from the region in January. 

Maize infected with aflatoxin
DANGEROUS: Maize infected with aflatoxin
Image: FILE

 

The government has stopped maize importation from Uganda and Tanzania with immediate effect, citing safety concerns.

The Agriculture and Food Authority in a letter dated March 5 said maize from the two countries have revealed high levels of mycotoxins "that are consistently beyond safety limits of 10 parts be billion (ppb)."

The letter was signed by AFA acting director-general Kello Harsana.

“We wish to bring to your attention that AFA has stopped any further imports of maize into Kenya with immediate effect. The republic of Kenya is however committed to facilitating safe trade with her trading partners and look forward to working closely with all stakeholders to address the concern,” Harsana said.

The letter was copied to Agricurure CS Peter Munya. It stated that the authority has been conducting surveillance on the safety of food imports.

Mycotoxins, particularly aflatoxins and fumonisins are known to be carcinogenic.

Harsana said that over the years, a number of acute and chronic aflatoxin-related illness cases have been recorded in Kenya including deaths.

Millers in Kenya have shied away from buying imported maize from neigbouring countries due to high levels of aflatoxin.

The milers prefer to buy maize from farmers who are currently selling a 90 kg bag of maize at an average of Sh2,700.

According to the January 2021 food and nutrition security report, millers have imported 300,000 (90kg) bags of maize from the region.

The maize balance sheet projected to end of March 2021 shows a surplus of about 11.03 million bags.

This is based on estimated 300,000 bags imported by millers from the region and from the ongoing long rains harvest and part of short rains harvest from the west of the Rift Valley harvests.

 

 

Charles Macharia, Koppert biological systems general manager, holds a packet of Aflasafe. Looking on are Dr Oscar Magenya, Director of Research and Innovation, Ministry of Agriculture, who was representing PS Agriculture when announcing the commencement of commercial marketing and distribution of Aflasafe
SAFEGUARDING HEALTH: Charles Macharia, Koppert biological systems general manager, holds a packet of Aflasafe. Looking on are Dr Oscar Magenya, Director of Research and Innovation, Ministry of Agriculture, who was representing PS Agriculture when announcing the commencement of commercial marketing and distribution of Aflasafe
Image: Courtesy