Tanzania dismisses claims of freezing maize export permits

Tanzania has dismissed claims by Kenyan traders that it has frozen the issuance of new maize export permits, urging them to follow procedures.

“Tanzania hasn’t barred issuance of permits for maize exports and it is not planning to do so. Traders should follow crop export procedures including securing crop export permits that are issued free of charge,” said Agriculture Minister Hussein Bashe told The Citizen on Wednesday.

“Between August 27 and September 7, 2022, Tanzania issued maize export permits for 37,450 tonnes of the product,” added Mr Bashe.

Agricultural produce exporters, he said, a required to secure an export permit and a phytosanitary certificate. Foreign exporters are required to register their companies in Tanzania.

“The challenge is that people don’t want to follow procedures. Foreigners would like to arbitrarily enter the farms in Tanzania and ferry the crop to their respective nations,” he said.

The minister said the procedures are to help control arbitrary crop business.

“These procedures have been put in place to prevent possible burden that could befall the government and the country in case there were challenges facing the produce in the international market,” he said.

The minister’s comments follow claims by Kenyan traders that Tanzania had stopped issuing permits since last week, a move that tightened the supply of the staple in Kenya.

Tanzania has for the last two years become a key source market for maize to bridge deficits especially after the two countries mended their trade ties with the change of regime last year following the death of former President John Magufuli.

Data from the Eastern Africa Grain Council shows Kenya imports from Tanzania nearly grew five-fold last year to 469,474 tonnes from 98,000 tonnes in 2020. The development has left processors jostling for stocks that are available locally and a few imports coming in from Zambia.

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