On 5 March, Kenya slapped a ban on maize imports from Tanzania and Uganda on suspicion that the grain from its two neighbours contains cancer-causing aflatoxins.
The East African Business Council (EABC)—the apex private sector body of the East African Community (EAC) - held a stakeholders meeting at Namanga One Stop Border Post to discuss the matter.
Speaking at the meeting on behalf of traders from both countries, Mercy Ireri called on President Samia Suluhu Hassan and her Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene and resolve the matter so that the consignments can enter Kenya.
“Each trader incurs a loss of USD 200 per day due to this impasse. The matter is beyond our ability to solve,” she said.
“We kindly request presidents of the sister countries to intervene and put this matter to rest once and for all.”
Ireri who is a representative of the Kenya Truckers Association said that soon after the ban, officials from the neighbouring country arrived at the border and took samples of the maize for testing but have never come back with the outcome.
“We have tried to seek answers from the Kenya government on several occasions but in vain,” she said.
Responding to the queries, an official at the Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture, Cacutus Efukho said testing of the samples taken last month was still ongoing and once ready; the results will be made public.
Adrian Njau, the trade and policy advisor at EABC said the body will communicate the request through relevant channels in both countries.
It should be recalled that 10 days after the ban and the uproar that followed, Kenya lifted the ban but with strict conditions on exporters which many if not all are failing to comply with.
Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture said then that all stakeholders dealing in maize imports were required to be registered, the consignments coming in must be accompanied with certificate of conformity on aflatoxin levels and that traders had to furnish details of their warehouses.
In its statement, the ministry said that certificate of conformity had to indicate that aflatoxins level in any consignment comply with the maximum permitted level of 10 parts per billion.