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Kenya to import Tanzanian maize as stocks lacking

24 June 2016, 13:37

Nairobi - Kenya plans to import corn from neighboring Tanzania because the nation doesn’t have sufficient supplies to meet its needs, the Cereal Millers Association said.

“We don’t have enough maize in Kenya,” CMA Chairman Nick Hutchinson told reporters Wednesday in the capital, Nairobi, using another term for corn. The association has about 500,000 90-kilogram (198-pound) bags in stock, which covers seven days, he said. The Tanzanian grain will arrive in a few weeks, and the purchases will be by traders, he said. The nation has 2.5 million bags in reserves compared with monthly consumption of 3 million, the Agriculture Ministry said last week.

Millers in Kenya, which has East Africa’s biggest economy, have rejected about half of corn received this year mainly because of aflatoxin, Hutchinson said. The toxic chemical is caused by fungus, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization. The naturally occurring carcinogen can result from improper storage conditions and costs the continent’s farmers as much as $670 million annually, according to the African Union’s Partnership for Aflatoxin Control.

Kenya is also looking to the harvest in July and August, as well as imports from other countries in the East African Community, to balance the deficit. About 50 million people are food-insecure in the eastern and southern parts of the continent after crops were hit by El Nino-induced droughts, the United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said this month.

Wheat production may climb 8.5 percent in 2016 to 300,000 metric tons from a year earlier, Hutchinson said. Kenyans consume 1.75 million tons annually, and demand is growing at 15 percent a year, he said.

- Bloomberg


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