The East African Community bloc is trying to come to terms with Kenya’s decision to ban imports of maize into her market on medical grounds.
The decision has riled many as farmers and traders who depended on the Kenyan market have been left counting losses.
Long queues of stranded trucks were yesterday seen at the Namanga border which was the first to be hit by the blockade.
But this is not the first item that Kenya has banned on products from East African bloc in 2021, in January importation of poultry and beef products from within and beyond East Africa was banned.
In the January 14 memo, East Africa’s biggest economy stopped all chicken, meat and egg imports on the pretext that it needed to support its “producers to recover from disruptions in their livestock enterprises occasioned by Covid-19”.
“We have instructions to suspend importation of frozen chicken carcases and cuts and chicken table eggs for human consumption. This is to instruct you to suspend further approval of the said importation by issuance of import veterinary certification until further notice.”
In the memo, Dr Obadiah N Njangi, the Director of Veterinary Services, wrote in a memo, in which he notified all heads of veterinary services, officers in charge and ports of entry to implement the instructions without exception.
On Friday, March 5, Kenya also banned importation of maize from Uganda and Tanzania, noting there had been an acute increase in chronic aflatoxin-related illnesses, some of which have resulted into death.
“The authority [Agriculture and Food Authority] has been conducting surveillance on safety of food imports to Kenya. The test results for maize imported from Uganda and Tanzania have revealed high levels of mycotoxins that are consistently beyond safety limits … we wish to bring it to your attention that the Agriculture and Food authority has stopped any further maize imports into Kenya with immediate effect,” a letter by Mr Kello Harsama, the Agriculture and Food Authority director general notifying Kenya Revenue Authority, reads in part.
The losses that come with these bans are yet to be calculated but it is well into hundreds of millions of dollars for the two East African economies.
According report in Daily monitor, data from Bank of Uganda the country is expected to lose an average of $121m (Shs447b) in annual revenue.