FOOD SAFETY

EACC to crackdown on illegal maize imports

Munya says officials taking bribes in exchange for approval stamps

In Summary
  • In March 5, the Agriculture and Food Authority stopped any further imports of the maize into Kenya with immediate effect.
  • The authority said test result for maize imported from Uganda and Tanzania revealed high levels of mycotoxins that are consistently beyond safety limits of 10 parts per billion.
Maize in a warehouse
AVERT CRISIS: Maize in a warehouse
Image: /FILE

Agriculture CS Peter Munya has raised concern saying there are government officers at the border who are accepting bribes in exchange for maize entry approval stamps without inspection and verification.

Last week, Munya said the ministry through the Agriculture and Food Authority is working with EACC and DCI to crack down on these corrupt practices.

The move comes after the recent stoppage of maize importation from Uganda and Tanzania due to aflatoxin. This is after tests conducted by the Agriculture and Food Authority on maize imported from Uganda and Tanzania revealed high levels of mycotoxins consistently beyond safety limits.

Munya said mycotoxins, particularly aflatoxins and fumonisins, are carcinogenic, and in order to address the urgent food safety concerns, the government put a stoppage of unsafe maize from all destinations.

After the stoppage of maize imports, the government put measures in place to facilitate safe trade of maize and other related food commodities.

Some of the measures included registration of all dealers of food crops like transporters, importers and processors as per the requirements of Section 16 of the Crops Act 2013.

“Importers are required to register and the applicants will be vetted and approval granted through issuance of a registration certificate. Successful applicants will again apply for pre-shipment documents stating the source of produce, purpose and destination including the storage facility where the produce shall be offloaded,” Munya said.

All consignments shall be accompanied by documents including the Certificate of Conformity of the produce. This should be issued by a competent authority from the exporting country processed through the KENTRADE single window system to be verified and approved by the crops inspectors.

The CS said random sampling shall be done at the border points with rapid testing to confirm that the grain is as per the conformity certificate issued by the exporting country.

“AFA is working in collaboration with the regulators/competent authorities from the exporting countries to provide guidelines on how to meet the relevant EAC standards,” he said.

-Edited by Sarah Kanyara