Kenya turns to Zambia for maize, sugar imports

Business Daily Kenya:  George Kebaso and Nicholas Waitathu @PeopleDailyKe Kenya will import 14,000 bags (140, 000 tonnes) of maize and 4,0...

Business Daily Kenya: 

Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett (right) with Zambia’s Minister of Agriculture Dora Siliya (centre) and her Finance counterpart Felix Mutati during a bilateral meeting between the Government of Kenya and the Government of the Republic of Zambia on trade in Agricultural Commodities at Kilimo House. Photo/PHILIP KAMAKYA

George Kebaso and Nicholas Waitathu @PeopleDailyKe

Kenya will import 14,000 bags (140, 000 tonnes) of maize and 4,000 bags (40,000 tonnes) of sugar from Zambia to ease shortage of the commodities. Yesterday, the two countries signed a bilateral trade agreement in Nairobi that will wave taxes and scrap export restrictions.

The commodities will be transported through Tanzania on a special transit route. Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett and his Zambian counterpart, Dora Siliya, also signed a joint communique, which relaxes policy and logistical challenges affecting grain movement from Zambia to Kenya.

“Zambia has lifted 10 per cent tax on maize exports as well as export bans,” Bett said during the signing also witnessed by Zambia’s Finance Minister, Felix Mutati.

Already, Kenya has imported 1,600 bags of maize from Zambia with another 1,400 on transit according to Bett. Kenya has experienced food shortage for the last three months forcing government to look outside the country to replenish maize stocks.

Bett said both governments have committed to facilitate a conducive atmosphere in which the private sector can boost trade on other commodities. “During the discussions we agreed that most of the trade hindrances happen at border posts,” said Bett.

He said talks sought ways to ensure that imports and exports complied with internationally accepted sanitary and phytosanitary standards. It was agreed that Kenya Bureau of Standards and Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service will carry out on-site inspections in Zambia to ensure maize and sugar imports comply with moisture and aflatoxin content requirements.

“The Zambian government has also committed to establish a special corridor through which goods to Kenya can be cleared quickly,” he added. Siliyi explained that the 10 per cent tax and ban on maize exports that has existed since September last year to June this year, was meant to enhance food security for Zambians.

She said huge demand for Zambian maize from Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe and Malawi had informed export bans. “As you are aware, we experienced devasting drought in Zambia last year and since we were not sure of our production, we imposed a ban to secure our own food reserves,” she said.

However, with Zambia currently enjoying bumper harvests, Siliyi said the country could afford to sell the surplus. “We produce 3.6 million tonnes (360,000 bags) of maize annually, with a carry over of 500, 000 tonnes from the 2016 harvest, we currently have 4.2 million tonnes in our stores, which means we have 1.4 million tonnes of surplus maize,” she said. Zambia produces up to 200,000 tonnes of sugar every year.

The post Kenya turns to Zambia for maize, sugar imports appeared first on Mediamax Network Limited.

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