Agricultural Food Authority (AFA) has confiscated more than 150 tons of Tanzania Maize and declared the consignment unfit for human consumption.
The maize was retrieved from several stores at Nyametaburo Trading Centre in Kuria West Sub-county of Migori County by a multi-agency security team led by AFA officials last week.
According to the Migori County Commissioner (CC), Boaz Cherutich, the bad maize believed to have been smuggled from Tanzania is currently being stored at the Kenya Cereals and Produce Board (KCPB) depot in Kehancha town, awaiting destruction.
The Kenya Government had recently banned maize from Uganda and Tanzania on grounds that they were infected with aflatoxin and therefore not fit for human consumption.
Mr Cherutich said Nyametaburo Market which harbours over 500 maize stores is a border centre through which Lorries, motorcycles and handcarts are used to pass and deliver illegal Tanzania maize to Kenyan traders.
He said the government was committed to stopping the illegal trade and warned those involved in the business to stop before the law get hold of them.
“We have realised that the trade of importing maize from Tanzania without approval from the agencies concerned with the quality of the commodity has been thriving in the area exposing our people to serious health risks,” said Mr Cherutich.
He said as much as Kenya would wish to promote trade with her neighbouring countries, it was prudent that the business community make efforts to engage in legal trade by acquiring all travel permits and approval certificates for their goods.
Early last month, the multi-security team raided several maize stores in the area and shut all that were suspected to be storing the foreign maize.
Most of the store owners were found to be poorly keeping their maize in the stores, leading to their consignments being subjected to thorough quality tests.
“A big consignment of the maize did not pass the tests,” explained Mr Cherutich, even as many unscrupulous traders were said to have hoarded their maize, fearing confiscation and arrest by the government.
“Kenyan traders prefer the Tanzania maize since it is cheap and offers them maximum profit when sold in our markets here,” said Mr Marwa Meng’enyi, a resident of Nyametaburo Trading Centre.
By George Agimba