A ship with 10,000 tonnes of maize is set to dok at the Mombasa Port on Tuesday, November 22, 2022, days after the government announced that it would allow importation of duty-free maize.
Investments, Trade and Industry CS Moses Kuria has said that government will allow the importation of duty-free maize for the next six months.
Kuria said that the government would be issuing a gazette notice this week to allow the importation.
“In view of the food situation in the country, I shall be signing instruments to allow duty-free imports of GMO and non-GMO Maize for the next 6 months,” Kuria said on Thursday.
According to information from the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA),the consignment is onboard an African Merlin vessel. It is not yet clear where the maize is coming from, who is importing it and whether it is GMO or not.
“We will check for you (the details) once the manifest is confirmed through customs tomorrow (today),” KPA corporate communications office told a local daily.
The duty-free importation will be open to the private sector according to Kuria who spoke again on Monday.
“The gazette notice that we will release will open up the market to millers and anyone to import maize duty-free for six months. The government will not import any maize,” said Mr Kuria.
The move to allow the importation of duty-free maize has been opposed by a section of leaders especially from Rift Valley, who argue that it will put Kenyan maize farmers at a disadvantaged position.
“The importation of duty-free maize is not fair to us maize farmers because of its wrong timing. In the Rift-Valley we are currently harvesting maize now it shall lower prices of maize. We shall tomorrow meet MPs of maize growing areas to develop a sustainable solution on the matter (sic),” said Nandi Senator Samson Cherargei.
According to the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation, the total land area under maize production in Kenya is about 1.5 million hectares, with an annual average production estimated at 3 million metric tons, giving a national mean yield of 2 metric tons per hectare.