KENYA – The government of Kenya has approved importation of 2.5 million bags of yellow maize by animal feed manufactures to ease pressure in the sector.

This decision follows a consultative meeting held between animal feed manufacturers the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Hamadi Boga and the chief executive of Strategic Food Reserve (SFR), Omar Salat.

“We have agreed with the Ministry of Agriculture that we bring in 2.5 million bags of yellow maize in a process that should commence after the gazettement by the Treasury,” says Martin Kinoti, Secretary-General of the Association of Animal Feeds manufacturers.

The move will see traders and manufacturers bring in the yellow maize duty free.

Mr Kinoti says the current arrangement should stay in place even in the coming years to enable manufacturers to import the produce every year, reports Business Daily.

“This plan should remain in place in order to cut competition for white maize between the animals and human beings,” he said.

Yellow maize permits were issued to three mainstream millers and about 17 animal feeds manufacturers in 2017 following a similar shortage.

More than two million bags were imported after the duty waiver by the government in April 2017, ending in December of the same year.

The government of Kenya has indicated urgency in allowing imports, with the shortfall of 4.3 million bags against a 4.2 million bag consumption demand per month.

In July Kenya entered into an agreement with Tanzania for the purchase of one million metric tonnes of maize and flour to help the country bridge a shortfall of the commodity.

The deal was sealed after the Ministry of Agriculture halted importation of 11.1 million bags of maize from Mexico and instead decided to import the commodity from Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) countries.

The Agriculture Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri had said that the country was to allow importation of up to 12.5 million bags before October to plug in a looming shortage.

The country is still expected to import 10 million bags of white maize for household consumption and an additional 2.5 million of yellow maize for processing of animal feeds.