Kenya has with immediate effect banned the importation of maize from Tanzania and Uganda.
In a letter by the acting Director-General of the Agriculture and Food Authority, Kello Harsama to Pamela Ahago, the Commissioner of Customs in the Kenya Revenue Authority, the imports should stop after a survey conducted indicated maize from the two countries is not fit for human consumption.
“The authority has been conducting surveillance on the safety of food imports into Kenya. The results from maize imported from Uganda and Tanzania have revealed high levels of mycotoxins that are consistently beyond safety limits,” the letter reads.
Long queues of trucks were on Saturday seen at the Namanga border after the Kenya Revenue authority reportedly denied the trucks entry into Kenya.
While in Longido District today, the deputy minister of Agriculture Bashe said the Government of Tanzania is taking the ban of maize imports seriously.
"The government is closely monitoring the ban and I can assure business people and the general public that the government will continue to protect its interests," Bashe said.
According to Kenya’s body charged with regulating, developing and promoting scheduled crops, the importation of the crop has been stopped with immediate effect as they work on seeing the way forward with the two countries.
“The Republic of Kenya is however committed to facilitating safe trade with her trading partners and look forward to working closely with all stakeholders to address the concern.”
The news will hit hard traders and farmers who earn a living off the maize sold to Kenya which has since become the leading export to Kenya.
Mycotoxinsare naturally occurring toxins produced by certain moulds (fungi) and can be found in food.
The moulds grow on a variety of different crops and foodstuffs including cereals, nuts, spices, dried fruits, apples and coffee beans, often under warm and humid conditions.
Mycotoxins are capable of causing disease and death in humans and other animals.