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.
“In this treacherous world
Nothing is the truth nor a lie.
Everything depends on the color
Of the crystal through which one sees it” – Pedro Calderón de la Barca
The Jubilee government have another level of corruptness over themselves. The President is brazen in his public fight with corruption, but the behavior of the government is corrupt as it possibly can be. The things of nature, is that it repeat itself. This time without government subsidizes like it was on the way to the Fresh Presidential Elections of 2017. When the maize was subsidized and the maize came from Mexico. Then rebranded and restocked as local produce.
Now, were in the middle of 2018 there was also extra attention to it, as the National Cereal and Produce Board had already bought imported maize to stock, while the locals had to get lesser pay while selling to the millers. As that has happen and the months has gone by, there are now reports. That the NCPB silos has destroyed 60% of its maize. That is imported maize that has already cost the taxpayers about ksh. 9 billion and now they have to import more. This is happening right in the 4 Quarter and before the festive seasons of Christmas Carols and jingle bells.
Clearly, this seems like a ploy, as the Deputy President William Ruto are promising farmers more money and another ksh. 2 billion to buy more stock. This is consequence of the importing of 4.4 million bags of maize. We can wonder who are earning fortunes on these games with the farmers and with the citizens needing to buy the maize flour, the UNGA. This is the staple food the government is making a mockery of.
This is meanest way of destroying confidence and also showing utter disgrace of office. As the NCPB and Ministry of Agriculture, the CS Mwangi Kiunjuri and Chairman Mutea Iringo. Both of them should come clean in this mess. It is evident there is something behind the curtain and someone is trying to fool someone. As the NCPB and CS Kiunjuri should spare no mind, explaining how they could buy rotting maize and toxic of it, while also struggling to pay local farmers. If not, there are something else going on.
As there other interests, than paying the farmers a fair price, as the imported ones from Uganda and Mexico is hitting the markets at a lower price. While the farmers struggle to sell their produce to the NCPB. This is all deliberate acts, as the millers and cartels are securing huge profits of the imported ones. While the local produce are wasted and destroyed. Now, even the foreign ones isn’t all good and suddenly destroyed. The utter chaos and the mismanagement is clear. Even as the NCPB are calling themselves “The Leaders in Grain Management”. When concerning Maize, they are not, unless they are following orders of cartels and from above.
This all seems weird, it all seems like a deliberate act of misconception to get higher prices, trick the citizens and get more profits for the millers and importers. Not to generate a better environment or even selling the staple food at a reasonable price. The Jubilee government have tried to trick the public before with UNGA. Therefore, I am skeptical about the beneficiary and the ones getting paid by this scheme. As the amounts of money and the toll on the economy, as the NCPB and Ministry should know better.
Clearly, another Maize scandal, but this government are rocking with scandals all the time. 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.
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/
Number of people needing humanitarian assistance on the rise.
ROME, Italy, July 14, 2017 – Poor rains across East Africa have worsened hunger and left crops scorched, pastures dry and thousands of livestock dead – according to an alert released today by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
The most affected areas, which received less than half of their normal seasonal rainfall, are central and southern Somalia, southeastern Ethiopia, northern and eastern Kenya, northern Tanzania and northeastern and southwestern Uganda.
The alert issued by FAO’s Global Information and Early Warning System (GIEWS) warns that the third consecutive failed rainy season has seriously eroded families’ resilience, and urgent and effective livelihood support is required.
“This is the third season in a row that families have had to endure failed rains – they are simply running out of ways to cope,” said FAO’s Director of Emergencies Dominique Burgeon. “Support is needed now before the situation rapidly deteriorates further.”
Increasing humanitarian need
The number of people in need of humanitarian assistance in the five aforementioned countries, currently estimated at about 16 million, has increased by about 30 percent since late 2016. In Somalia, almost half of the total population is food insecure. Timely humanitarian assistance has averted famine so far but must be sustained. Conditions across the region are expected to further deteriorate in the coming months with the onset of the dry season and an anticipated early start of the lean season.
The food security situation for pastoralists is of particular concern, in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, where animal mortality rates are high and milk production from the surviving animals has declined sharply with negative consequences on food security and nutrition.
“When we know how critical milk is for the healthy development of children aged under five, and the irreversible damage its lack can create, it is evident that supporting pastoralists going through this drought is essential,” said Burgeon.
Livestock prices have plummeted because of poor animal body conditions and this, coupled with soaring cereal prices, has severely constrained pastoralists’ access to food. Rangeland and livestock conditions are expected to further deteriorate at least until the next rainy season starts in October.
Poor crop prospects
In several cropping areas across the region, poor rains have caused sharp reductions in planting, and wilting of crops currently being harvested. Despite some late rainfall in May, damage to crops is irreversible.
In addition, fall armyworm, which has caused extensive damage to maize crops in southern Africa, has spread to the east and has worsened the situation. In Kenya, the pest has so far affected about 200 000 hectares of crops, and in Uganda more than half the country’s 111 districts are affected.
In Somalia there are unfavourable prospects for this year’s main gu crops, after the gu rains were late with poor rainfall and erratic distribution over most areas of the country. In the Lower Shabelle region, the main maize producing area, seasonal rainfall was about 50 percent below- average and drought conditions are currently affecting up to 85 percent of the cropland.
In Ethiopia, unfavourable belg rains in southern cropping areas are likely to result in localized cereal production shortfalls. Drought is also affecting yields in Kenya’s central, southeastern and coastal areas. In Tanzania, unfavourable rains are likely to result in localized cereal production shortfalls in northern and central areas, while in Uganda there are unfavourable production prospects are unfavourable for first season crops in the southwestern and northern districts.
Cereal prices are surging, driven by reduced supplies and concerns over the performance of current-season crops. Prices in May were at record to near-record levels in most markets and up to double their year-earlier levels.
“Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.” – Harry Truman (Special Message to the Congress on the Internal Security of the United States, August 8, 1950).
Certainly, the National Resistance Movement and their government doesn’t seem to care how they look. None of their pledges or even written letters to the Local Government matters. Not even in the midst of famine and starvation. You would think that a government and their agencies had sense of keeping their promises to the ones who needs the most basic in life – as their plates are empty after droughts and bad governance. Therefore, the NRM has no sense, when the Bukedea district are reacting that their promised food relief is less; than promised from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) Dr. Ruhakana Ruganda and his department. Certainly, this is disrespecting the people and the citizens of Bukedea. Take a look!
“Mike Okwii, the district secretary for health and social services wants the matter investigated expeditiously before they can distribute what they have received. “According to the letter signed by the commissioner of disaster and preparedness, Bukedea was supposed to get 800 bags of posho and 400 bags of beans. But the district has received only 400 bags of posho and 50 bags of beans, which is shocking. So for us at the district leadership, we have decided not to distribute this food. Not until when OPM delivers all the food items”, he said. Okwii confirmed that as of now, nobody has given them any response as to why the Office of the Prime Minister delivered consignments that have fewer supplies that what was declared. “Nobody has given us the right answer why they delivered less food compared to what is on the delivery note. The minister for Teso Affairs is going to follow the matter because you can imagine the minister came to Bukedea to allocate food to the sub-counties. Little did she know that she allocated food which is not even there”, he added (URN, 2017).
The reason for the disrespect is staggering as the reports of termites and insects to survive, proves the lacking governance and upkeep of institutions. Also, the agricultural sector has been left behind, as the irrigation and thinking of how use water in farming. Certainly, the food relief is a way of making sure the people eat while they wait for next season and possible time to start farming again. These in regions that has been hard hit and the government had been warned by FAO and FEWSNET, so these reports should have forewarned them.
“Food is required besides the medication. If someone is sick, the first treatment is food; medicine works well on a well fed body,” said Dr. Chebitai” (New Vision, 2017). Therefore, with the knowledge that the state still has the capacity to not deliver what so needed and necessary is not only a theft, but taken food of the plates of those who starve. That the NRM has the audacity to this proves how they can easily neglect their citizens. Even taking away their first treatment, that is the level of disappointment, the ruling regime can to do their own. Peace.
New Vision – ‘Parliament staff donate food items to Teso’ (07.05.2017) link:http://www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1453187/parliament-staff-donate-food-items-teso
There are something deeply wrong, so sincerely wrong when the citizens doesn’t get needed food relief and have to eat termites and insects to survive. This is the state of the famine now in Teso Region, in Katakwi, Amuria, Bukedea and Kaberamaido district.
“Mr Robert Okitoi, the Amuria District council chairperson, said “The situation is bad, people are now eating termites. I think the government should just declare a state of emergency for the regions of Teso, Karamoja and Lango.” (NTV Uganda, 01.06.2017). On the 26th April 2017 the Parliament has passed a motion to declare ‘State of Emergency’ in Uganda, but the President and the State House has not done anything about it.
Still, a local farmer wrote a piece to the Chimp Reports that has some valuable assessments:
“The current hunger in Teso has largely been attributed to drought, while this assertion may hold some truths; there is increasingly evidence that the Ministry of Teso Affairs has not done its part. Hunger in Teso is as a result of both internal and external factors. For many years, the region has been experiencing declining productivity and this was recently worsened by drought. For districts like Ngora, Bukedia and Kumi, land fragmentation has heavily affected productivity” (…) “Clearly besides drought, Teso food systems are in a crisis and our expectation was that the Ministry of Teso affairs working with other stakeholders would work to address this problem. Our view is that hunger should be among the ‘affairs’ that Ministry of Teso Affairs should be engaged in.Agriculture remains a major livelihood for our people in Teso and therefore we require urgent response from Ministry of Teso Affairs on its plans to help our people get out of the current hunger crisis”(Akorikin, 2017).
This here proves that the drought is just the last piece of the straw in a bigger problem, that even the State Ministry has not been in-charge and had the oversight of the Teso Region. There are lacking the support they need. Still, the government still have done something now and then. Like this one relief to Kaberamaido district: “Kaberamaido district has finally received 12, 000 kilograms of relief food from government valued at Shillings 33 million. Kaberamaido is among the districts battling a severe food crisis resulting from crop failure due to prolonged drought. The most affected areas in the district are Ochero, Bululu, Kobulubulu, Kaberamaido, and Apapai sub counties. With over 5,000 households facing starvation representing about half of the total population in the district, the 12,000 kilograms of flour delivered is far from solving the food crisis” (Odongo, 2017). That means on the 30th April 2017, the government delivered 12.000kgs of flour that is estimated to be 231,000 citizens in the district alone. Therefore, you don’t have to be rocket scientist to know that this food relief to the one district isn’t enough…
“The minister for Relief and Disaster Preparedness, Hilary Onek, has offered a bit of advice to the hunger-stricken; stop selling the little food you have left. Onek said the weather has become so unreliable for Ugandans to hold on to the little hope for better yields. “They should consider family needs first before selling all the food. Districts like Lira had a lot of food but it [food] was sold to traders from Kenya, South Sudan and even Rwanda because people want money,” he said in an interview. Asked whether government would consider banning the sale of food to outsiders, Onek said they wouldn’t, in the spirit of the East African Community. “That is not an option we will consider; we only want people to behave responsibly to take care of their family needs before they sell all the food,” he said” (UMDF, 2017).
So now the Minister Onek gives advice to the impoverished citizens, so that they are careful with their food stocks, as the relief of the districts are not up-to par. Therefore, that they didn’t stock the extra foods and now they tell the families to take of it. The government could have used their resources and built food-stocks, instead of living hand to mouth. The small-time farmers in the Teso-Region certainly, needs more than fear of selling what they don’t have, they need support and food relief.
The state also has to facilitate the farmers, not in Operation Wealth Creation or Jerry-Can irrigation, but real projects, storage of food-stocks and recreate farmers Co-Ops in the districts and sub-counties to collectively earn and work together to get better yields and also productivity in general. But that isn’t a scheme and way the National Resistance Movement can corrupt or thieve the funds from. Therefore, that will not happen and is the reason why the similar institutions are gone during the decades of President Museveni.
The Teso Region and these district needs help, the man-made famine together with the drought that has worsen it. So the Government has to charge and actually make a difference, not just thieve monies away from Kampala. Peace.
Akorikin, Francis – ‘OPINION: Government Should Review the Relevance of Ministry of Teso Affairs’ (05.05.2017) link: https://www.chimpreports.com/opinion-government-should-review-the-relevance-of-ministry-of-teso-affairs/
Odongo, Ronald – ‘Kaberamaido Receives 12,000 KGs of Food Relief’ (30.04.2017) link: https://ugandaradionetwork.com/story/govt-delivers-12000-kilograms-of-posho-worth-ugx-33m-to-famine-hit-residents
Uganda Media Development Foundation (UMDF) – ‘HILARY ONEK TO HUNGER VICTIMS: DON’T SELL FOOD’ (01.05.2017) link: https://www.umdf.or.ug/?q=content/hilary-onek-hunger-victims-don%E2%80%99t-sell-food