• In a letter dated March 5, the government raised concerns over high levels of aflatoxin in maize coming from Uganda and Tanzania.
• This followed an immediate order to stop imports until certain measures are implemented to ensure food safety.
Livestock and Fisheries CAS Lawrence Omuhaka on Wednesday said the consumer safety and the health of Kenyans is of major priority through continuous surveillance and testing of maize from the EAC region. https://bit.ly/2PWIjFr
The government has denied claims it has banned the importation of maize from Uganda and Tanzania.
It had earlier stopped importation of maize from the two countries due to high levels of aflatoxin.
In a letter dated March5, 2021, the government through the Agriculture and Food Authority raised concerns over high levels of aflatoxin in maize coming from Uganda and Tanzania.
Agriculture CS Peter Munya said on Wednesday Kenya is in a liberalised market where free trade must be facilitated.
“Nobody has banned importation of maize because you cannot ban trading in East Africa, but we must ensure that standards that are already recognised in our protocols are observed,” he said.
Munya spoke in Nairobi while giving an update on the status of maize transfer from EAC partner states to Kenya.
“Every trade must be balanced and there is always the issue of the protection of the consumer from substandard goods and dumping of cheap goods. These are safeguards that are allowed by the law in a liberalised market,” he said.
The CS added that issues of phytosanitary standards in food are key because aflatoxin is not physical and cannot be seen.
“Even as we encourage free trade, it is in the interest of the public to make sure that there is safety, not just from what is coming into Kenya but also what is internal,” Munya said.
Livestock and Fisheries CAS Lawrence Omuhaka said the consumer safety and the health of Kenyans is of major priority through continuous surveillance and testing of maize from the EAC region.
He said results revealed high levels of aflatoxin beyond the permissible maximum limits of 10 parts per billion.
“While we strive to give Kenyans safe food by addressing the various challenges in the production systems, we equally expect our trading partners to trade in safe maize as per East African Community standards. That provided the maximum limits of aflatoxin to be 10 pbb,” Omuhaka said.
To address the issue, the ministry directed AFA to register all dealers, including transporters and importers, as per the requirement of Section 16 of the Crops Act 2013 within two months.
“All consignments to be accompanied by documents including the certificate of conformity of the produce issued by a competent authority from the exporting country. This will be verified by crops inspectors at all border points,” he said.
Omuhaka said there shall be continuous surveillance and testing of the produce to confirm that the grain is as per the certificate issued.
“Importers will be required to declare details of the warehouses where the produce shall be offloaded upon clearance at the border points. This will prevent the malpractice of drying of maize in open spaces in various towns. I also urge maize traders to obtain a certificate of origin of produce before clearance into the country,” the CAS said.