Kenya sparks rumors of trade dispute within the East African Economic Bloc following its decision to ban the importation of maize from two of its neighbouring countries, Uganda and Tanzania with immediate effect.
The decision was announced by the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA). “We wish to bring to your attention that Agriculture and Food Authority has stopped any further imports of the maize into Kenya with immediate effect,” Kello Harsama, acting Director-General of the Agriculture and Food Authority said.
The authorities of the country claim research found high levels of mycotoxins rendering maize from the two countries harmful for consumption. They added that, mycotoxin related deaths were equally recorded in Kenya hence the decision to halt imports and protect lives of citizens.
Ms. Harsama said in her statement that, “test results for maize imported from Uganda and Tanzania have revealed high levels of mycotoxins that are consistently beyond safety limits.
She explained that, “Mycotoxins, particularly aflatoxins and fumonisins are known to be carcinogenic. Over the years, a number of acute and chronic aflatoxins related illness cases have been recorded in Kenya including deaths.”
The East African Economic Bloc which fears the possibility of reciprocal action accused Kenya of taking a unilateral decision without full involvement of officials from the affected countries.
However, Kenya gave an assurance in the earlier statement that, it is “committed to facilitating safe trade with her trading partners and look forward to working closely with all stakeholders to address the concern.”