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Traders decry ban on maize imports from TZ

Trucks loaded with maize consignments belonging to Kenyan traders remain stalled at the Namanga border yesterday. [Peterson Githaiga, Standard]

Businessmen who import maize from Tanzania are protesting the governments’ ban that they say has left them desolate. 

Speaking during a stormy meeting at the Namanga border yesterday, the traders said they are losing millions over the stalemate on maize importation with thousands of bags of maize being confiscated at the Namanga and Busia border points.

“We have suffered following the ban by the government. Even the results of our maize which were taken for testing have been released more than a month now,” said Daniel Wainaina, chairman of Kenya International Freight and Warehouse Association.

A spot check by The Standard yesterday revealed that trucks with maize consignments belonging to Kenyan traders remain parked at the Namanga border while those belonging to Tanzanians have since been released to their country.

The Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) on March 5 banned the importation of maize from the neighbouring countries, arguing that the maize was contaminated with high levels of aflatoxins.

The agitated traders who import maize from Tanzania say the ban is killing the East Africa Community trade.

“Why are we told that we are free to do business with other East African Communities, while this commodity goes to waste here at the border?” posed Wainaina.

However, AFA when contacted for comment said they are consulting all concerned stakeholders to resolve the matter amicably.

In his response, maize inspector Calista Efukho, said the issue about aflatoxin in maize has been a major threat hindering the Kenya-Tanzania trade, but added that the issue was being discussed at a high level.

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