Moshi. Traders who were recently arrested in Kilimanjaro Region during a crackdown on maize smuggling to Kenya claim to have official permit to export the cereals to the neighbouring country.
Maize is in high demand in Kenyan due to prolonged drought which had culminated into poor harvest during the last season.
A survey carried out by The Citizen on Sunday established that although the government has temporarily banned export of the cereals due to uncertain food situation, maize traders in the region were still taking advantage of the long porous borders to do the business.
Traders called on President Magufuli to rescind the ban.
Others claim to have not been notified on the reported fragile food situation in the country.
“We have entered into contracts with buyers in Kenya and we have to honour them,” one of the traders said.
Mr Solomon Isaack, a maize trader, said he had obtained the permit from the relevant authorities and had all along followed all the procedures laid down on export of food produces.
“We are often confused by the government directives on maize exports. At times, we were encouraged to sell maize outside the country when there was surplus,” he said.
Another trader, Mr Fratheani Swai, said he had borrowed money from a bank to buy maize but all of a sudden his vehicle had been stopped at the border.
Mr Ashraph Ramadhani said had the government notified them earlier on the maize export ban they would not have purchased the produces.
Recently the government had said it was deeply concerned about the wanton smuggling of contraband goods across the Tanzania/Kenya border, where about 360 illegal porous routes had been identified. Deputy Minister for Home Affairs Hamad Masauni said during a tour of a border that increased smuggling posed a threat to the country’s economy and security. He added that government was losing revenue due to untaxed goods exported to Kenya.
He said fighting against illegal activities around the long porous border between the two countries was not the responsibility of the government alone buthad to involve the neighbouring communities.