KENYA – The Treasury has extended duty waiver on imported yellow and white maize in a move aimed at increasing supply of the staple.

The extension, contained in a special issue of the gazette notice signed by Treasury Cabinet secretary Henry Rotich, will see millers enjoy the duty waiver on white maize for three more months. Yellow maize window will be open for one year.

The waiver on white maize was supposed to end on July 31 but it has now been extended to September 30.

The exemption on yellow maize was supposed to expire on August 31 but this has been pushed to June 30, 2018.

Mr Rotich amended the earlier gazette notice giving a window of about five months for the importation of the produce.

“Following the publication of gazette notice number 3575 of 2017, the Cabinet secretary for the National Treasury amends part A of the schedule in paragraph two by deleting the expression August 31, 2017, and substituting therefor the expression with June 30, 2018,” reads the notice.

The July 4 notice has seen traders and millers increase the volume of maize imports before the window closes with three ships expected docking at the Mombasa port last week.

President Uhuru Kenyatta hinted last month that the waiver on the yellow maize would be extended to allow farmers enjoy the benefit of cheap animal feeds.

“All yellow maize will be imported duty-free to lower the cost of production,” he told farmers in Eldoret in June.

The yellow maize permits were issued to three main stream millers and about 17 animal feeds manufacturers.

Millers have been banking on the yellow maize to process animal feeds following an acute shortage of white maize.

The government ordered the importation of yellow maize to ease pressure on the white ones. Animal feeds are made from the white maize, worsening the current food situation.

More than two million bags of the grain have been imported since the waiver on duty in April.

Research findings by Tegemeo Institute indicated that Kenya produces enough maize to feed the population based on estimated per capita consumption but when other uses such as seed, feeds manufacturing are considered the supply falls short of demand.

July 24, 2017: Daily Nation