Police in border town of Busia are holding about 40 lorries ferrying maize from Uganda into Kenya for contravening the government’s directive banning import of the grain.
According to the ministry of Agriculture, 25 of the lorries are being held at Busia while 14 are at Adungosi police stations.
The move comes as the ministry, through the Agriculture and Food Authority heightens surveillance and crackdown along all border points to check the import of unsafe maize.
The recent ban on maize imports was imposed after test results for Uganda and Tanzania maize imports consistently revealed high levels of mycotoxins beyond safety limits.
Mycotoxins, particularly aflatoxins and fumonisins, are carcinogenic.
And following the state’s directive on stoppage of maize imports from East Africa Community partner states, unscrupulous traders have been sneaking the grain through illegal border points.
To facilitate the safe trade of maize and other related food commodities across East Africa, the government has taken measures, including the registration of all dealers of food crops such as transporters, importers and processors in line with section 16 of the Crops Act, 2013.
“Stakeholders are advised to log on to www.afa.imis.go.ke for requirements for registration. Applicants will be vetted and approval granted through issuance of a registration certificate. Successful applicants shall be notified on the need to apply for pre shipment documents stating the source of produce, purpose and destination including the storage facility where the produce shall be offloaded,” said the ministry in a statement.
The government will also require her EAC partner states to issue certificate of conformity (CoC) to all Kenya-bound consignments. The certificates shall be issued by relevant authorities from the exporting country processed through the Kentrade single window system to be verified and approved by crops inspectors.
Additionally, random sampling shall be done at the border points with rapid testing to confirm if the grain is as per the conformity certificate issued by the country of origin.
“The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EAC) and DCI are on high alert to deal with any corrupt officers and or traders at border points who shall engage in corrupt practices,” the ministry said.
Meanwhile, the ministry has allayed fears of alleged maize shortage in Kenya. The latest projections up to the end of May indicate a surplus of nearly 12 million 90kg bags, with the price of maize expected to remain stable.
Current wholesale maize price is averaging KES2600 per 90kg bag, with the highest prices of up to KES4,392 reported in Garissa County and the lowest prices of KES1,980 in Laikipia County.