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Ship carrying 10,000 tonnes of maize came from Mozambique

The bow of a cargo ship. [iStockphoto]

A ship carrying 10,000 tons of maize that docked at the Mombasa Port Tuesday came in from the Port of Beira in Mozambique, The Standard has established.

Kenya Port Authority (KPA) confirmed Tuesday that the vessels docked at berth seven at Mombasa but that by last evening, it had not started to offload the maize.

KPA Principal Communication Officer Haji Masemo said the Kenya Bureau of Standard (Kebs) and Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) will determine the quality of the maize before it is released.

“She docked today at berth number seven but it has not started to offload. On the quality of the maize it is Kebs and Kephis that can ascertain that,” said Masemo.

Annual deficit

The 14-day shipping list prepared by the KPA indicates the vessels left Beira on Wednesday last week and arrived at the Kenya waters at the Indian Ocean on Monday.

Marine Traffic, the only application that tracks the movement of ships across the globe, indicates the maize could have been loaded at the Port of Beira in Mozambique.

According to data from government agencies, the country has an annual maize deficit of about 700,000 tonnes it fills through imports from Uganda, Tanzania, other Comesa countries and Mozambique at 50 per cent tariff.

The former National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani extended the free-maize import that was scheduled to expire on May 9, to September 30.

Last week, President William Ruto said in Kwale that the government will import 10,000 tons of maize to cushion Kenyans against hunger. He did not however expressly indicate whether the said import will be GMO or non-GMO maize.

On Tuesday, Seaforth Shipping Limited, the local ship handler, said it was not ready to release the details of the consignment, adding that KRA and KPA had all the details.

“Our manager is out of the office. The information you want is with KPA and KRA because no cargo can come in without their approval,” said an officer who did not identify himself.

The arrival of the maize in Mombasa sparked debate in the country with MPs from the country’s food basket, South Rift, threatening to censure Industrialization Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria.