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Kenya bars flour exports

NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 29 – The government has outlawed exports of flour, just two months after a similar ban on maize exports.

Agriculture Minister William Ruto says the ban was necessary after it was discovered that some individuals were exporting maize meal to Sudan.

Speaking to journalists at his office, Mr Ruto said the ban would remain in effect until there was adequate flour for consumption in the country.

“On the other hand we have finalised plans for the importation of maize to cater for the shortage and tomorrow (Tuesday) we should be announcing which players in the private sector will be engaging in this exercise,” the minister said.

The minister also revealed plans to allow the importation of wheat flour once a complete purchase of all available stocks of wheat from farmers in the country.

The country requires 10 million bags of wheat for consumption but only produces three million, filling the deficit through importation.

“Once we have established the gap we will allow millers to import the seven million bags tax free.  Current tax on wheat is 10 percent per tonne or $50 whatever is higher,” Ruto explained.

Mr Ruto also announced that the government had found suppliers for fertilizers in the country at subsidised rates with the intention of encouraging more framers to plant during this season.

“45 years after independence we believe this country should be self sufficient in providing food for its people,” he said.

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He revealed that negotiations on availability of more affordable fertilizer were ongoing and should be concluded by Tuesday.

“We hope to provide fertilizer at below Sh2,700 for DAP and CAN at below 1,400,” he added.

Mr Ruto further revealed that the Kenya Seed Company had been instructed to reduce the price of seed by Sh5 to encourage farmers to purchase more for the planting season.

On efforts to ensure sustained food security the minister said all National cereals Produce Board Depots would be allocated maize to allow for purchase of smaller bags of 25 kilogram’s of maize that should be more accessible for everyday consumption.

Meanwhile Mr Ruto said the government had so far purchased 170,000 bags of maize and aimed to purchase 1.5 to 2million bags by the end of January.

“Currently the strategic reserve has one million bags which we are hoping to raise with the targeted purchases for January,” he indicated.

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