Produce stores in Busia district are still under lock and key days after Kenya lifted the ban on the importation of Ugandan maize. Some of the produce traders interviewed by URN said they are still waiting for official communication from the Kenyan government lifting the ban.
According to the traders, Kenya’s purported lifting of the ban on the importation of Ugandan maize was only reported on social media and there hasn’t been any formal communication to them on the matter.
On Thursday last week, Kenyan authorities lifted the ban on the importation of Ugandan maize and set stringent conditions traders must abide by before their maize is allowed into the country.
These include among others that the traders get certificates where the maize is originating from, Certificate of conformity from the national bureau of standards from both Uganda and Kenya indicating the level of aflatoxins in the maize before it is exported to Kenya.
The traders are also required to get trade permits from the Kenya plant health inspection services.
Bakhali Magemeso, the General Secretary Busia Produce Dealers Multipurpose Society Limited, says that they are still waiting for official communication from relevant authorities at the national level on the new decision.
He, however, says that it will take time for them to comply with some of the conditions set by the Kenyan the government since accessing some of the documentation takes time.
Kassim Massah, a produce trader is uncertain about the future of their business, saying securing a certificate of conformity requires people operating big businesses. He appealed to relevant authorities at the national level to dialogue with Kenyan authorities to relax on the conditions.
Frank Kasumba, who runs Busia produce market and doubles as a trader says that most of the people operating stores in the market can’t afford the costs involved in acquiring the required documents.
Godfrey Ongwabe, the National Chairperson of Cross Border Trade says that the conditions set by the Kenyan authorities are fair and will help reduce the number of foreign traders who buy produce directly from farmers.