KENYA – Kenya has lifted the ban on imports of Ugandan and Tanzanian maize citing strict terms that the exporters and importers need to adhere to, in a bid to curb shipping in of contaminated crops.
The East African nation stopped the importation of maize from the neighbouring countries after the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) under the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives, undertook a study on the grains which revealed they contained high levels of mycotoxins beyond safety levels.
To this end the Ministry has indicated that all stakeholders dealing in maize imports would be required to be registered, the consignments coming in must be accompanied with a certificate of conformity on aflatoxin levels and that traders have to issue details of their warehouses, reports Business Daily.
The certificate of conformity should indicate that the aflatoxin levels comply with the maximum required levels of 10 parts per billion.
The details on the warehouse would help in ensuring that the maize supplied to Kenya adhered to all standard procedures on food handling and that it was not dried on roads (tarmac).
“While we strive to give Kenya safe food by addressing the challenge in production system, we equally expect our trading partners to trade safe maize as per the East African Community (EAC) standards.”Agriculture Chief Administrative Secretary – Lawrence Angolo
In a statement read by Agriculture Chief Administrative Secretary Lawrence Angolo, it indicated that the move is aimed at addressing the safety of consumers and that the country will not compromise on that.
“While we strive to give Kenya safe food by addressing the challenge in production system, we equally expect our trading partners to trade safe maize as per the East African Community (EAC) standards,” said Mr Angolo.
The ministry urged the regional countries to fast-track ratification of EAC- SGS standards on aflatoxin and submit the instruments of certification to the EAC.
Traders importing maize from Uganda to Kenya will be required to also have a certificate of origin from the counties of produce before they get clearance at the border points.
Meanwhile, AFA has launched the Agriculture Information Management System (AIMS), an online trade system it developed with funding from Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) through TradeMark East Africa.
AIMS will replace the tedious paper-based and semi-manual administration of trade and business processes.
In a speech read on his behalf by Agriculture CAS Lawrence Omuhaka during the launch, Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya said they have been experiencing challenges in service delivery which are expected to be solved by the new system.
The challenges include lengthy application procedures requiring stakeholders to physically visit AFA offices for services and inadequate and inaccurate accountability of crop production by stakeholders in the field through submission of annual returns on the platform by farmers.
Also they have been met by lack of reliable data and statistics for decision making on better regulation and administration of agricultural commodities, tedious export and import processes and duplication of efforts in service delivery by AFA Directorates.
Munya said that through AIMS, traders will be able to access regulatory services from AFA from the comfort of their locations and the system will significantly improve service delivery.
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