Government has maintained its stance not to allow maize and maize product exports as it embarks on a countrywide audit of stocks to ascertain food security, a senior Ministry of Agriculture official has said.
Ministry of Agriculture permanent secretary Julius Shawa said a team from Government and the private sector will conduct a broad assessment on abundance of maize.
To this effect, he has called on all players in the sector to fully co-operate by providing the required data as Government is concerned at some reported incidences where traders have been caught attempting to smuggle maize out of the country.
Mr Shawa said Government will not allow export of the 2015/2016 harvested maize until it is satisfied that the country is food-secure.
“Government, through the national stocks committee, will soon be conducting a comprehensive audit of national maize stocks with the private sector,” he said in a statement availed to the Daily Mail yesterday.
“Government is closely monitoring the movement of maize and maize products. Government wishes to emphasise that any illegal exports of these products will be dealt with severely,” Mr Shawa said.
As a measure to protect the country’s maize stocks, Government has called on all law enforcement agencies to be vigilant and to closely monitor border points to ensure that illegal export of the commodity is stopped.
He said there has been high demand for maize from neighbouring countries which are faced with food deficits due to negative effects of climate change.
Mr Shawa, however, said the Food Reserve Agency has bought 193,923 tonnes of maize as at August 18, 2016.
He also said the private sector has been active on the market and are offering farmers good prices.
He said the participation of the private sector on the market has the potential to encourage farmers to increase production in the coming season.