Today, the Agriculture and Food Authority wrote a letter to the Commissioner of Customs, Pamela Ahago. There it stated that it “stopped any further imports of the maize into Kenya with immediate effect”. It also said the reason why: “conducting surveillance on the safety of food imports to Kenya”. The last is: “Test results for maize imported from Uganda and Tanzania have revealed higher levels of mycotoxins that are consistently beyond safety limits”.
When you read that it makes sense. You might wonder, what is mycotoxins? Well, it is: “Mycotoxins are toxic compounds that are naturally produced by certain types of moulds (fungi). Moulds that can produce mycotoxins grow on numerous foodstuffs such as cereals, dried fruits, nuts and spices” (…) “The effects of some food-borne mycotoxins are acute with symptoms of severe illness appearing quickly after consumption of food products contaminated with mycotoxins. Other mycotoxins occurring in food have been linked to long-term effects on health, including the induction of cancers and immune deficiency” (World Health Organization (WHO) – ‘Mycotoxins’ 09.05.2016).
We can be sure that the Ugandan and Tanzanian authorities will react to this. As they will not accept this and will be scorn. The Kenyan Authority is right in doing this. Especially with the concern of food safety and food for human consumption should be key priority. Therefore, to cease or suspend imports of Maize makes sense.
What is also striking is the amount of maize that is exported to the Kenya market from the neighbours, which a report in 2020 said: “Kenya imported 44,740 metric tonnes of white maize from the region in the second quarter of 2020, accounting for more than three quarters of the total grain sold across borders in the period in East Africa. The latest Food Security and Nutrition Working Group (FSNWG) East Africa Cross Border Trade report shows that 58 and 39 per cent of the imports came from Uganda and Tanzania, respectively” (Kevin Rotich – ‘Tanzania, Uganda supply majority of Kenya’s maize imports’ 03.08.2020).
The main importers of maize to Kenya comes from these two. That means the main imports has stopped and the ones who exports it to the Republic. This also means the Kenyans are losing their main sources of White Maize. Maize is staple in the ugali and therefore a vital commodity.
The UNGA is a important aspect and has been subsidized by the government in the past too. We cannot know if the Maize cartels will earn from this. Just like the previous stockpiling exercises in 2017 and 2018. UNGA have been questioned and how the state have treated it.
In June in 2017 CS Willy Bett said this: “Since we started the subsidised programme, we have witnessed more Kenyans preferring unga, thus the high demand for maize flour,” (Ngotho, Agatha – ‘Kenyans eating more ugali to blame for unga shortage – CS’ (20.06.2017) link: http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/2017/06/20/kenyans-eating-more-ugali-to-blame-for-unga-shortage-cs_c1582605?platform=hootsuite).
It might come something similar happening now. As the state is directly losing its key trading partners who exports it to them. It is not like the Kenyans will stop eating UNGA. That is not happening. So, the need for maize flour will persist and we have to wonder where they will import it from now. Peace.
The Government of Malawi, through the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA), will from the month of September 2018, undertake a once-off maize distribution exercise targeting acute food-insecure households in 26 districts of the country, pending the final Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) report and development of the 2018/2019 Food Insecurity Response Plan.
Speaking in Blantyre when he presided over the launch of the once-off distribution, Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Joseph Mwanamvekha said a total of 432,729 bags of maize [21,636.5 tonnes] will be distributed to 432,729 food-insecure households in 26 districts of the country.
“Each food-insecure household will receive a 50kg bag of maize and this will be followed by the MVAC response,” said Mwanamvekha.
The once-off distribution comes after the country experienced prolonged dry spells and a severe outbreak of Fall Army Worms, which rendered many households food-insecure.
The relief maize will be distributed to households in Blantyre, Neno, Chiradzulu, Mulanje, Thyolo, Phalombe, Mwanza, Machinga, Mangochi, Balaka, Zomba, Chikwawa, Nsanje, Karonga, Mzimba, Rumphi, Chitipa, Dowa, Mchinji, Kasungu, Ntchisi, Dedza, Ntcheu, Lilongwe, Nkhotakota and Salima.
If you wonder why suddenly the prices are running high for the UNGA again in Kenya. That is because the state has added taxes, they are trying to collect more money again. This is happening because its months since the elections and the subsidized UNGA is history. Therefore, expect rising prices, the maize and milk cartels want their profits. If they happen to in the pocket of the government at the same time. Is just convenient, even some of the companies earning on the sky-rocketing prices is the President himself and his own companies. I am sure the DP also owns connected businesses that could eat of the this plate too. While the ordinary and poor population will struggle to have ends meet as the government are taxing them even more.
“Poor households would be more exposed in the amendments with sweeping implications on many sectors, as the State seeks to raise Sh1.75 trillion in the next financial year. Most basic commodities are not taxed to cushion the poor, but the changes that will be proposed in the national budget will end that. “We are looking at exemptions on several products that are widely consumed, but not on VAT such as milk, sugar, maize flour, wheat flour…,” said Benson Korongo, a commissioner of Kenya Revenue Authority” (Michira, 2018).
Prediction of the reaction to the taxes:
“Milk and cream, not concentrated nor containing added sugar or other sweetening matter” (…) “Suppliers of the affected supplies will not be able to claim any input tax incurred in making of such supplies. This cost will be borne by the final consumers. Reverting to exemption of these basic commodities a year later after they had been zero-rated will lead to an increase in their prices rendering them less affordable to the ordinary Citizens” (…) “The supply of maize (corn) flour, ordinary bread and cassava flour, wheat or meslin flour and maize flour containing cassava flour by more than 10% in weight” (…) “Reverting to exemption of these basic commodities a year later after they had been zero-rated will lead to an increase in their prices rendering them less affordable to ordinary Citizens” (Ey Global Tax Alert Library, 2018)
It is special when Ernest & Young (EY) whose is known for their advice for potential investors and people who plans for invest in a republic. They have usual advice, which shows the potential and the grips of reality. Their analysis from April are now coming in effect in the end of May, as the local papers like Standard write about it now. But they say it might happen in July.
The state has favorably subsidized it and also imported on its own, that might happen again. But the added tax will hit the public. Make the staple food more expensive, because of added taxes. The shops, the importers, the distribution companies will not take the hit. The hit is always ending up at the consumer, the buyer and not the ones who produce, distribute and sells. That is known and the way we play. Seriously, when the state plans with these taxes to earn over a trillion shillings, nearly two, means they are anticipating selling enough of the needed goods and services connected with the new taxes to actually be sold.
So the prices on the staple is rising, because the Jubilee Government, the President and his party is doing it. This is their orders and their will, it is not the international market or a drought, it is initial planning and what the state does to get more revenue.
Jubilee whose are eating all of the state, needs more revenue to make another NYS Scandal, take more funds from the likes of NHIF and inappropriately use unaccounted funds in the various government bodies. Peace.
EY Global Tax Alert Library – ‘Kenya issues Tax Amendment Bill, 2018’ (April 2018)
Michira, Moses – ‘Red alert: Why the cost of food will go up in july’ (16.05.2018)
That the Transformation Alliance are planning to become a Political Party seems to stressful for the Republic of Malawi. This can be said, since the Ministry of Home Affairs and Internal Security, Hon. Grace Obama Chiumia ordered that two foreign speakers to a TA Conference we’re banned from the Republic. This is the Zambian politician Saviour Chishimba and the South African politician Julius Malema. TA must really upset the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the President Peter Mutharika, who is struggling in with the Cash-Gate and the Maize-Scandal, that has run the Republic.
The Malawian ruling party and President Mutharika must fear the possible TA becoming a single political party instead of a political pressure group. Since the pressure group has enough power to get two foreign high-level politicians to its conference. They would question the corruption and the problematic institutions lacking procedures to secure food storage. Just take a look!
“BLANTYRE – Transformation Alliance (TA), a political pressure group, has announced that it has invited South African and Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema, and controversial Zambian politician Saviour Chishimba, to its first national conference end of August ahead of the 2019 elections” (…) “Chishimba is a darling to Malawians for being a whistle blower of the controversial maize deal between state grain trader, Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc), Zambia Cooperative Federation (ZCF), a government agency, and private company Kaloswe Commuter and Courier Ltd” (Kamanga, 2017).
“Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have threatened to take action to force the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) pay back the money it received from councils and parastatals during the blue night fundraising dinner held at Kamuzu Palace. According to reports, DPP solicited money from Blantyre City Council (BCC), Mzuzu City Council (MCC) and Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) totalling K13.5 million. Gift Trapence: The reports sparked anger among CSOs who demanded that DPP must pay back the money it got from the institutions” (…) “As Civil Society Organizations we are not going to allow having that impunity and we are warning the ruling party it will return that money come rain come sunshine,” said Trapence. He further urged President Peter Mutharika not to allow party members to be “insulting” the citizenry when they demand answers on issues of national interest” (Bisani, 2017).
“Chakwera will join Julius Malema a well -known politician in South Africa, a firebrand agitator who is revered and disliked in equal measure as another speaker will be Zambia’s leader of United Party (UP), Saviour Chishimba and that he has already confirmed his attendance. TA spokesman, Leonard Chimbanga could not confirm or deny about Chakwera attending the conference late alone making a keynote address, but confirmed that the leader of opposition has been invited to attend the conference. “He has been invited since we share similar views on matters of national interests,” he said. Meanwhile, some officials within the alliance have told Nyasa Times that the pressure group is working on turning into a political party ahead of 2019 elections apart from working underground to forge an alliance with other political groupings including Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and Peoples Party (PP)” (Malawi Voice Reporter, 2017).
Clearly, the Malawian government are afraid of the TA. They fear what the opposition pressure group TA can gain from this conference. That is why they have banned the Zambian politician UP Chishimba and South African EFF Malema is barred from entering the country. This proves the problems Malawi government has with it’s opposition. Peace.
Bisani, Luke – ‘CSOs threaten demos over blue night donations’ (16.08.2017) link: https://malawi24.com/2017/08/16/csos-threaten-demos-blue-night-donations/
Kamanga, Penelope Paliani – ‘Malawi’s pressure group invites Malema and Zambia’s Chishimba’ (14.08.2017) link: https://southernafrican.news/2017/08/14/malawis-pressure-group-invites-malema-and-zambias-chishimba/
Malawi Voice Reporter – ‘Kunkuyu’s Transformation Alliance Party Teams-Up With MCP Ahead Of 2019 Polls’ (16.08.2017) link: http://www.malawivoice.com/kunkuyus-transformation-alliance-party-teams-up-with-mcp-ahead-of-2019-polls/
Certainly, one of these days the Jubilee government Cabinet Secretaries going to wake-up from their sleep and start to act with common sense. Since the release of subsidized maize and opening imports, the markets has not overflowed with Unga. Neither, the reality that some of the millers kept stockpiles of it, as they knew they would be subsidized from the state. So why sell it months ahead, when you can keep it steady and unleash when you get double bonus. The Jubilee government knows this and therefore right on the day of the subsidized maize and the possible export provisions came into effects. Boats with foreign maize came pouring in through the ports of Mombasa.
“He witnessed the arrival of 12,000 bags through the Rift Valley Railways yesterday. “To ensure every Kenyan enjoys the Sh90 subsidised maize flour, all maize from Mombasa will be removed using SGR, RVR and trucks,” Bett said. In two weeks, the market has been experiencing a shortage of unga. “Since we started the subsidised programme, we have witnessed more Kenyans preferring unga, thus the high demand for maize flour,” he said” (Ngotho, 2017).
CS Willy Bett, need some guidance, needs some reassurance and some sort of stiff upper-lips for insulting fellow citizens. It isn’t the sudden love for UNGA. This the staple food. This is what Kenyans are known to eat. UNGA, Ugali or Posho (Ugandan I know). Still, the maize flour meals is not a well-kept hidden secret. It would be like taking potatoes as out of the equation when feeding massive parts of Northern Europe. That is just the staple food. Period.
The CS clearly, has some internal issues and need to stop thinking he can deceive fellow citizens. As the indicated exports combined with the stockpiling was very evident. That people are buying lots of it now, is because they might even fear for more scarcity. Since it isn’t only drought, but man-made problems that has given way to shortage of UNGA.
It is time to wake-up for Mr. Bett and smell the UNGA. Time to see and relieve his fellow brothers and sisters. Not just find excuses upon excuses and think it can save his grace. You do not take away some-ones staple and think you can get away with it. Seriously, that is insulting. The insinuation and undermining of the needs and the will of Kenyans. Are evident in his approach to the UNGA crisis. This should not be forgotten, because his grace has clearly not done his job and then blames the citizens for either their staple food! Peace.
Ngotho, Agatha – ‘Kenyans eating more ugali to blame for unga shortage – CS’ (20.06.2017) link: http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/2017/06/20/kenyans-eating-more-ugali-to-blame-for-unga-shortage-cs_c1582605?platform=hootsuite
You know something is fishy when the markets suddenly has maize flour in the stores as the 2 kg packaged that is produced in Kenya and milled in Kenya. This comes as the fixed subsidized prices comes into effect. Cabinet Secretary Willy Bett, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, who has been in Port of Mombasa in the recent days. Being proud of the delivery of imported maize flour.
That their been shortage and that the markets has had less in storage is the evidence of the escalating prices. Therefore when COSMO millers comes with milled in March 2017 and is expiring in August 2017. Also, that the shortfall in between the fixed price and the balance has to be covered by the state. As the prices has clearly gone to high and than the government stepped in. But the ones coming of the boat during this week. Couldn’t suddenly appear in the shop. It had to be taken care of and repackaged, even milled if it was pure corn.
That the package of the milled maize flour now has the label of GoK, as the Jubilee fronting their good work. As they trying to look like they stopped a scandal and shortage. The Government clearly has either ordered the millers, agreed with the millers or tried to put a shortage to suddenly see the likes of COSMO filling the market with stock. The 30,000 tons of IVS Pinehurst couldn’t jump into the market this quickly and change into subsidy “GoK 90/-”, which is today’s new feature in Kenya. They want to look like a saviors, instead of the ones who created this. But it is suspect that milled in March dropped on the marked instant after the subsidized maize we’re released. It seems like clockwork.
So the questions doesn’t stop with the sudden drop and the evident approach. As Port of Mombasa and Millers clearly has worked in accordance with the government. As they had the papers for the package of flour and could quickly deliver it to the shops. Therefore, this seem like a planned enterprise as the delivered flour, which should gone from port to millers. Really hit the stores in amp-speed. Little two quick for that amount.
It makes it seem like it all was a short-con by the Jubilee, to gain popularity on the staple-food. As their stories of origin of the vessel and the maize, that even been countered by the Mexican Authorities, as well as the vessel came from Mauritius and not South Africa. There are certain aspect of this story, that seem like a ploy. To get the prices down, but at the same time make sure the millers are getting more for the maize, than they did before. Also, make sure the profits are steady on the grounds of drought and yields. As the subsidized maize flour will surely benefit the private producers, who already earn on the higher prices.
There are questions that will not be answered, the reality is that there are certain signs that Kenyans shouldn’t be duped. Surely, the price is better now after the subsidize from Jubilee. Still, the look of artificial prices and sudden drop that the government can do. Also, that the millers could label GoK so quickly. Shows there certain aspects that the Jubilee and the Millers didn’t consider. The suspicious intent is because the Jubilee has always been more promotion and PR than actually considering their policies. That is the legacy they will leave behind. Peace.