Millers have strongly opposed the move to have Tanzania sell one million tonnes of maize and flour to Kenya.
Hussein Bashe, Tanzania’s deputy ministry for agriculture said during an interview with an international media that the country has enough maize to supply Kenya throughout the year.
Agriculture PS Hamadi Boga did not want to comment on this issue saying; “It is along story that I do not want to get into.”
This comes barely two weeks ago after agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri defended his move on maize imports in the country.
An industry expert who did not want to be mentioned because he is not authorised to comment on the issue said Tanzania does not have sufficient supply of maize to sell to Kenya as earlier claimed.
He said they also cannot be able to met the consumer preference of the Kenyan market asit is brand specific.
“Kenyans are loyal to certain brands of maize flour and shifting to another brand will take time. We are in country where a brand is a promise,” he said.
The PS confirmed that traders are currently getting maize from Tanzania but the inflows are coming into the country informally.
“We are in discussion with our neighboring country to ensure that we make the process formal so that our millers can have enough surplus to help stabilize prices of maize flour,” Boga said.
Maize from Tanzania is selling at Sh3,400 per 90 kg bag in Nairobi and Sh3,600 in Eldoret. This has attributed to a rise in the price of a two-kg packet of maize which is currently selling at an average of Sh125 in some places the prices has reached to a high of Sh130.
Kipngetich Mutai, chairman of the Green Belt Millers Association based in Eldoret said importing maze flour from Tanzania will kill the vibrant and heavily invested maize flour and animal feed milling industry.
“Tanzania wants to maximize on their profit but this is not good for millers in Kenya. We millers need the full grain to help sustain our milling industry and the animal feed industry. We also need to maximize on our profits, otherwise we will close doors and many people will be affected,” said Mutai.
He also confirmed that millers are getting supplies form Tanzania and that those saying farmers in Kenya have maize are not telling the truth.
“Our farmers have exhausted the huge maize stocks they had. Today, I can only get about two to five bags of maize from individual farmers and it will take me also one week to fill up a pickup,” he said.
Mutai added that farmers in Eldoret have now turned to selling using a two-kg tin at Sh120 because it is more profitable.