Tanzania freezes grain export permits for Kenyans resulting in scarcity and price inflation of flour in Kenya

According to recent reports, Tanzania has stopped issuing fresh maize export licenses to Kenyan businessmen.

Recently, a number of millers and producers of animal feed in Kenya admitted that they had encountered difficulties in establishing regular business ties with Tanzanian maize exporters.

Business Daily Africa, a Kenyan media outlet, learned from these Kenyan millers and producers of animal feed that Tanzania hasn’t been issuing fresh permits for a week, resulting in a maize shortfall in Kenya.

A fresh permit must be obtained each time a new batch of grain is intended for export because the Tanzanian government only issues one-time permits for grain export.

The lack of this crucial crop in Kenya has an impact on its own sales and distribution because maize will undoubtedly be more expensive as a result. It also has an impact on the fabrication of goods or the extraction of goods from produce. The biggest decline is seen in flour production.

Ken Nyaga, the chairperson of the United Grain Millers Association, stated, “We have been unable to obtain maize from Tanzania since last week after the country stopped giving export permits to traders with the cutting off of Tanzanian stockpiles expected to force up the cost of flour.”

If this permit denial continues, it might be detrimental to Kenya’s agricultural ecosystem. Following the installation of a new government, which resulted in the restoration of friendly ties between the governments of Tanzania and Kenya, Kenya now receives a sizable portion of its grain supply from its neighbor.

Business Daily Africa reports that imports from Tanzania increased by over five times last year to 469,474 tonnes from 98,000 tonnes in 2020, according to data from the Eastern Africa Grain Council. Processors are now vying for locally available stocks and a few imports from Zambia as a result of the change. Tanzania limits exports to save its domestic livestock in the wake of subpar harvests.

To supply the rising domestic demand for flour, Kenya has been dependent on Tanzania and Uganda for the export of maize.

Zambia is the only remaining supplier of maize for Kenya, according to the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs), which also confirmed that the amount of maize entering the country through the Namanga border has considerably decreased.

According to a Kebs employee at the Namanga border, “we have seen a huge reduction in the amount of maize coming in from Tanzania; on average, we are now getting 10 trucks from a high of 80 trucks previously.”

According to millers, the Tanzanian restriction will cause a shortfall that will raise the cost of maize locally from Sh5,400 for a 90-kilogram bag to Sh5,900.

Due to the product’s present availability, countries in the region are fighting for a restricted supply of white maize for flour and animal feeds.

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