20 cleared to import 0.7m tonnes of maize

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At least 20 firms including seven millers have been issued with permits to import 708,480 tonnes of maize to bridge the current grain deficit.

Documents seen by Business Daily show the Ministry of Agriculture issued the licences between March 27 and May 13.

They allow duty-free imports as the government seeks to increase supply of maize in the market.

Some of the big millers in the list include the Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed Unga Ltd , Mombasa Millers and Capwell Industries.

“We want them to bring this maize cheaply to salvage the current situation in the country,” Agriculture secretary Willy Bett told the Business Daily.

Imported maize will be sold to government at Sh3,600 per 90 kilogramme bag, under the subsidy programme that has seen the State buy grain and sell to millers at Sh2,300 per bag.

The subsidy scheme has so far lowered the price of the staple from a high of Sh153 per two kilogramme packet to Sh90.

Other firms issued with the permits include grains handlers Cargill, the Mombasa based Hydery (P) Limited, One Commodities Company Limited and Seaboard Overseas (K) Limited.

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The firms will import maize from different countries like Mexico, South Africa, USA, Zambia, Russia and Egypt.

Grains from Russia will mainly be yellow maize meant for animal feeds. Some of the millers have been permitted to import both yellow and white maize.

New licences

The government moved in to issue new licence to millers for importation of yellow maize after the first group of traders failed to bring in the grain despite having the licence.

The yellow maize permits were issued to three main stream millers and about 17 animal feeds manufacturers.

The first consignment of 30,000 tonnes of white maize from Mexico was imported two weeks ago and has so far been distributed to millers.

The second consignment of 42,178 tonnes is expected at the port on May 27.

The third consignment of 41,470 tonnes will dock on June 16 ferried by Holbud, followed with the shipment of 38,500 tonnes by Sea Board on June 30.

The rest of the consignments will arrive between July 1 and July 20, bringing in 270,148 tonnes of maize.

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