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Busia traders stuck with metric tons of maize

Kenya banned importation of maize from Uganda. File Photo

Busia, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Produce traders in Busia district are stranded with metric tons of maize worth billions of Shillings following Kenya’s ban on the importation of maize from Uganda. Busia produce market is one of the major hubs for produce and maize is one of the major commodities.

Produce traders in the market have been exporting maize to Kenya and other neighbouring countries. However on March 05, 2021, the Kenya Agriculture and Food Authority under the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives banned the importation of maize from Uganda and Tanzania citing high levels of mycotoxins that they say are beyond the safety limit.

Mycotoxins are toxic compounds that are naturally produced by certain types of moulds (fungi). Moulds that produce mycotoxins grow on numerous foodstuffs such as cereals, dried fruits, nuts and spices. The ban by Kenya has taken a huge toll on produce traders in Busia.

Bakhali Magemeso, the General Secretary Busia produce dealers cooperative says that they are stranded with thousands of metric tons of maize that are loaded on trucks and piled in stores due to lack of market. He says should the ban continue, many produce dealers will end up in debts since they operate on loans.

Wilson Musenero, a trader says that he is stuck with over 3,000 metric tons of maize in the store and another on the truck worth Shillings 28 million. Musenero says that the maize is likely to rot in their store unless the Kenyan government reverses the ban or they find other buyers.

Jane Asinde, another trader says that he was shocked when Kenyan authorities turned away three truckloads of maize she had delivered over the weekend.

Abdu Maganda, another trader says that he has stocked 8,000 tons of maize and while another 5,000 tons is on trucks.

Frank Kasumba and Zainab Nabwire have denied the allegations by the Kenyan government that Ugandan maize contains excess mycotoxins.

They claim that before crossing into Kenya, the maize is thoroughly inspected by health officials and the National Bureau of standards both from Uganda and Kenya.

She says the ban is likely to worsen the problem of unemployment among youths and fuel thefts as they look for survival.
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