TANZANIA will soon be dispatching 1,700 huge semi-trailer trucks carrying a consignment of 50,000 metric tonnes of grain across the border into Kenya, to rescue the neighbouring country from acute food shortages.
According to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperative, Mrs Sophia Kaduma, the grain shipment set to be trucked from Arusha to Nairobi through the Namanga Border, this month, is part of the 201,800 metric tonnes of maize that Kenya had requested to buy from Tanzania to offset the country's limited stock of grain due to poor harvests from inadequate rains.
Apparently, Tanzania which experienced good rainfalls this year, expects to register bumper harvests this season, enough to feed the country plus surplus to export to other countries, especially Kenya.
The Memorandum of Understanding between Kenya and Tanzania in which the former will be buying maize and other agricultural produce from the latter, was officially signed in Arusha on Thursday between Ms Kaduma and her Nairobi counterpart, Mrs Sicily Kariuki, the Principal Secretary, State Department of Agriculture at the Kenya'sMinistry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries.
"The first 50,000 Metric tonnes sold to Kenya will come from the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) while the remaining 150,000 metric tonnes to be shipped there later, will be procured directly from local farmers," said Mrs Kaduma during the occasion to ink the MoU in Arusha.
She explained that the Minister for Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, Eng Christopher Chiza and his Kenyan colleague, Mr Felix Kosgey met in Nairobi to discuss the matter, following the application from Nairobi to purchase maize from Tanzania.
"Kenya will be using the country millers to buy maize from Tanzanian farmers through the latter's appointed grain traders," explained the Principal Secretary, Ms Kariuki, who added that her country will also consider buying rice from this country.
Through the mutual agreement, Tanzanian traders will be buying a tonne of grain at 523,462/- and sell the same to Kenya at Ksh 32,778 and this strict price fixing is aimed at ensuring that prices for grain and maize meal in Nairobi, remain constant.