By Norman Isaac Mwambazi
Last week, Ugandan maize exporters were crying foul after directives from the Kenyan government to ban maize coming from Uganda. The Kenyan government said that Ugandan maize was not fit, healthwise, to be consumed by Kenyans because it contains harmful chemicals known as aflatoxins
After discussions between Kenya and officials from the East African Community, the Agriculture Ministry of Kenya lifted the ban but put in place strict requirements from exporters to make sure they export maize to Kenya that is up to standard.
Some of these are that all maize exporters will have to be registered and obtain a certificate of conformity and traders are required to have certificates of origin from the areas where the maize was grown before clearance at the border point.
To address issues of safety, the Kenyan Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry Of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries, Lawrence Angolo said that regional governments to fast-track the ratification of issues relating to aflatoxins and submit them to the East African Community.
Over the weekend, officials from the Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) started taking samples of Ugandan maize to test for traces of aflatoxins. The team arrived in Busia on Saturday and collected maize samples from all stores for testing in their laboratory in Kampala and results from the tests will be released today.
“We are a big team from UNBS picking maize samples from all stores to test for levels of aflatoxins. We expect results to be out tomorrow (Monday) because the ministers of Agriculture and Trade are required to present the outcome to Parliament,” one of the officials said.
The tests will help the government make an informed decision for the resumption of the maize exports to Kenya.