Nairobi- The Deputy President of Kenya, Rigathi Gachagua, has spoken out on the ongoing controversy surrounding the importation of cheap, duty-free maize into the country. Speaking to Citizen TV, Gachagua said, “cheap maize is not available anywhere in the world”. His remarks come in response to complaints from millers who have been unable to secure import licences due to disagreements with the government over the landing price for a 90kg bag of maize.
The government has insisted that millers commit to a landing price of Ksh4,200, which the millers have deemed unfeasible due to factors such as the Russia-Ukraine war raising the cost and the scarcity of the product. There have also been complaints about import licences being granted to unidentified traders.
Gachagua stated that the only available maize is from South Africa and that Kenya is in competition with Angola and Rwanda for the same maize. He added that maize in Brazil is too expensive to import due to the distance involved. He also explained that the government does not want to import maize directly to avoid corruption and scandals.
The government had advertised for millers and other people to apply for permits to import duty-free maize to bring down the cost of maize flour, which has remained high at around Ksh200 for a 2kg packet. However, Gachagua stated, “unfortunately there is no maize almost everywhere in the world”.