Tanzania maize exports to Kenya surge sixfold after Suluhu visit

President Uhuru Kenyatta, President Samia Suluhu Hassan

President Uhuru Kenyatta (right) welcomes Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan at the State House in Nairobi on May 4, 2021. 

Photo credit: Simon Maina | AFP

What you need to know:

  • Kenya is a maize deficit country and relies on imports from Tanzania and Uganda to meet its annual demand.
  • Kenya started mending fences with Tanzania shortly after President Samia's trip to Nairobi, with Trade ministers from the two countries meeting in Arusha just weeks after the visit to address other underlying trade issues.

Maize imports from Tanzania jumped more than sixfold to 118,329 bags in May on the back of President Samia Suluhu’s visit to Kenya that saw Dar and Nairobi reach a deal to lift a ban that had been put in place.

Kenya's Agriculture ministry says the volumes jumped from 16,137 bags in April to a monthly record of 118,329 in May after President Samia and her Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta reached a bilateral deal to abolish the restrictions that Nairobi had imposed on Tanzanian maize.

Kenya had in April banned maize imports from Tanzania and Uganda, citing a high level of aflatoxin beyond the required minimum of 10 parts per billion.

“Informal cross-border trade reported that the total quantity of maize imports in April was 16,731 bags. In May, the imports increased to 118,329 bags,” said the ministry.

“There was reduced importation of maize in April, which is attributed to restriction of importation of maize across the region.”

Kenya is a maize deficit country and relies on imports from Tanzania and Uganda to meet its annual demand.

Kenya started mending fences with Tanzania shortly after President Samia's trip to Nairobi, with Trade ministers from the two countries meeting in Arusha just weeks after the visit to address other underlying trade issues.

For instance, Tanzania agreed to abolish inspection fees for processed products with standardisation marks, giving Kenyan goods a smooth entry into their market.

Tanzania said it would allow Kenyan juices and wheat flour to access its market following a bilateral meeting that resolved the trade barriers that had seen these goods face clearance hurdles at the border.

Tanzania said it has started implementing the Single Window System, which has reduced delays in the clearance of pineapple juices produced in Kenya.

The meeting directed Kenya Revenue Authority and Tanzania Revenue Authority to explore the possibilities of granting preferential access to cigarettes made in Kenya with tobacco sourced from Tanzania and report back in the next bilateral meeting.

Kenya agreed to grant cement from Tanzania preferential treatment in accessing its market.

To enhance the process of clearance of goods, it was agreed that Single Customs Territory to be fully implemented by both parties.

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