Tanzania millers proposition to sell maize flour to Kenya in the name of value addition unlike in the past where they were they would sell the maize grains directly, was echoed by President Magufuli as part bilateral deals agreed upon during President Uhuru Kenyatta’s visit to Tanzania.
The Kenyan government had opened a window to allow millers and traders to import 12.5 million bags to cover a shortfall which Agriculture Cabinet Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri had informed the public about. Kiunjuri noted that the country would need the extra supply in mid-August to October, before the harvest, and next year between April and July. According to the Agriculture Principal Secretary Hamadi Boga, the country could use 4.3 million bags of maize a month from which about 1.5 million bags are milled.
However, Tanzania millers will not have the opportunity to supply their maize flour into Kenya as a difference in standards and low capacity will hinder their quest to export into Kenya.
“These factors of standards and low output makes the plans of importing flour from Tanzania unviable. Maize flour from outside the country must be attuned to the consumer preferences in Kenya,” said Agriculture PS Hamadi Boga.
Kenyan flour is fortified, which is a requirement by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs), while most of the Tanzanian commodity is not, making access to the local market difficult. However, on capacity, PS Boga said Tanzania’s largest miller has a capacity of 100 metric tonnes a day compared to Kenya’s total daily capacity of 16,000 tonnes. This comes as a reprieve for local millers who were staring into losses and collapse of their businesses.