Food shortage crisis and drought being experienced in some parts of Kenya has put the citizens through series of hardships. The Government has been on top of the game looking for the best way to bring a lasting solution to these crises. Kenya government has resolved to import maize from Zambia to ensure that foods are available for everyone in the country.
According to the Agriculture CS Willy Bett, he said yesterday that Kenya is set to import 100,000 metric tonnes of maize from Zambia.
Willy Bett while speaking during a meeting with Zambian counterpart yesterday said it will now be easy for Kenya to import maize from Zambia following the South African country’s decision to waive 10 percent export duty for the East African Country.
“We are targeting 100,000 metric tonnes of maize from Zambia. If this maize arrives by end of August, it will be included in the ongoing subsidy programme,” he said.
Zambia’s government has also lifted the ban it imposed on the export of maize and maize products to similarly drought-hit neighboring countries including Malawi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe as part of a food security measure following the prolonged drought in most parts of the region last year.
He said that the decision by the Zambian government will help salvage the current maize and sugar shortage in the country.
“We welcome the decision to lift the export ban as well as removing the 10 percent export duty and thus our private sector players will find it easy to import the basic commodities that have been lacking in the local market in the recent past,” Bett stated.
He was speaking yesterday at Kilomo house when he met with his Zambian counterpart to sign a bilateral agreement on trade between the two countries.
Zambia Agriculture minister Dora Siliya who was accompanied by her finance counterpart Felix Mutati said Zambia produced 3.6 million mt in 2016/2017 and had a surplus of over 500,000 bags from the previous harvesting season.
She added that after consumption, the country is currently enjoying a surplus of 1.4 million mt of bags.
Siliya said that Zambia exports 40,000 metric tonnes of sugar to Kenya every year. This is part of the quarter that Kenya is allowed to import from member countries under the window protection arrangement.
“Currently, 16, 000 metric tonnes of sugar have already been exported to Kenya while 14,000 are on the way. The 40,000 we export to Kenya is part of our 200,000 mt sugar exports annually,” she said.
The decision by the Zambian government was agreed after the two governments’ ministers of agriculture, finance and trade met on Monday to discuss among other issues bilateral trade.
While speaking Bett said, Zambia government has committed to dedicate a special lane from Nakonde, Tanzania-Zambia border to facilitate express clearance for maize and sugar exports to Kenya.
“The two governments agreed to address emerging issues affecting transshipment through other jurisdictions. Further, Kenya government said it’s committed to engaging the Shipping Council of East Africa (SCEA) to facilitate trade between the two countries,” he explained.
He added, “The meeting resolved that the Government of the Republic of Kenya will continue to facilitate the private sector to import maize from Zambia.”