Crop Development PS Philip Kello warns traders against importing bad maize

Crop Development Principal Secretary Philip Kello

Crop Development Principal Secretary Philip Kello speaks during a past event in Nairobi in February. He has warned traders against importing poor-quality maize. 

Photo credit: Dennis Onsongo | Nation Media Group

The Ministry of Agriculture has urged importers to stop bringing in bad maize in efforts to make quick money as a standoff between Kenyan traders and Tanzanian authorities continues at the Namanga border.

In an exclusive interview with the Nation, Crop Development Principal Secretary Philip Harsama Kello said Kenyan traders are importing maize of questionable moisture levels, which is unfit for human consumption.

“Kenyan maize traders are traversing different parts of Tanzania for yet-to-be-dried maize. They are buying at throwaway prices with intentions of minting millions back at home,” said Mr Kello. He added that the price of maize has shot up to Sh6,500 per 90-kilogramme bag locally due to high demand against low supply.

He said the maize stuck at Namanga is of questionable moisture levels and high traces of aflatoxin, adding that relevant authorities are on high alert to ensure compromised maize is not imported into the country.

“We are also aware some of the unscrupulous maize traders have been importing ‘wet’ maize only to dry it in Kajiado once cleared at the border,” he added.


In March 2022, the Agriculture and Food Authority banned importation of maize from Tanzania and Uganda saying the grains had high levels of aflatoxin.

Mr Kello said his department has reached out to Tanzania authorities and has been assured of seamless cross-border trade. He said they were cognisant that Tanzania has been extending subsidies to its farmers and it would like to ensure farmers reap benefits with higher profits.

“The Tanzanian authorities have put up a raft of measures to regulate grains trade to protect farmers from conniving brokers. Also to ensure the farm produce exported, not only to Kenya, is of good quality,” he said

The PS took issue with Kenyan traders for ignoring a seven-month window given by Tanzania to open and register local offices for free.

Mr Kello urged Kenyan traders to comply with the new regulations as they look for long-lasting solutions. He was non-committal on whether the maize consignment stuck at the border will be cleared to enter Kenya. 

Register local offices

Under the new guidelines issued by Tanzania’s Ministry of Agriculture to be effected from July 1, Kenyan traders seeking to import maize from Tanzania will be required to open and register local offices in Dar es Salaam.

The traders are to register with the Business Registrations and Licensing Agency (Brela) before obtaining a trading permit. They are also required to present tax clearance certificates and the business permits issued by Brela before they are allowed to export the grains.

On Wednesday, maize traders and truck drivers paralysed operations for hours at the border point protesting Tanzania’s decision to stop issuing export permits. More than 200 trucks ferrying maize were stuck at the border as traders cried foul saying they were facing heavy losses.