KRA opens window for duty-free maize imports

Trucks waiting to deliver maize seed to the National Cereals and Produce Board stores in Eldoret. farmerstrend.co.ke

Kenya has allowed for the importation of duty-free maize from the international market to stem domestic shortage that has seen the cost of maize floor almost double in the last few months.

Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) on Friday published a notice highlighting rules for importation of tax-free yellow and while maize to close the local market deficit gap.

KRA Commissioner for Customs and Border Control Julius Musyoki said importing companies have until July 31 to ship in white maize while the deadline for those importing yellow maize is August 31.

While importation of white maize is open to anyone in Kenya, the acquisition of yellow maize will be restricted to selected companies who will ensure it is consumed as animal feed.

“Both the yellow and white maize must not be genetically modified and must have a moisture content not exceeding 14.5 percent. The aflatoxin levels of the white yellow maize shall not exceed 10 parts per million,” the notice read in part.

Importers will, however, pay Import Declaration Fund, charged at 2.25 percent of the total cost of the imported product.

They will also pay 1.5 percent Railway Development Levy introduced two years ago to fund the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway line.

“Shipment of duty-free yellow and white maize must be accompanied by a Certificate of Conformity issued by a company appointed by the Kenya Bureau of Standards,” KRA said.

Treasury through Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich allowed importation of yellow and white maize in conformity with the East African Community Customs Management Act (EACCMA).

Kenya has been facing an acute shortage of maize accruing from poor harvest as well as hoarding of the product by farmers because of low market prices.

This compelled government to open a window for the release of one million 90-kilogram bags of maize to counter the rising cost of maize floor which had hit above Sh150 for a two-kilogram packet.

The expected price relief, however, did not come to pass as floor prices failed to hit the anticipated Sh115 per two-kilogram packet as set by the Treasury.

Millers rejected the cheap maize offer taking only 600,000 bags citing high transport costs as a challenge.

Maize prices have risen by 37 percent in the past one year with maize floor cost shooting from Sh103 per two-kilogram packet in April 2016 to over Sh130 in April 2017.

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