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Kenya, Zambia sign agreement to facilitate maize trade

来源:Xinhua 作者:Peter Mutai 2017-07-06 16:50:30

NAIROBI, July 4 (Xinhua) -- Kenya and Zambia on Tuesday signed an agreement on trade in agricultural commodities that will allow Kenya's private dealers to import maize and sugar faster to help fight hunger in the country.

Zambia Minister for Agriculture Dora Siliya said maize importers from Kenya will now acquire permits within a day as opposed to previous seven days.

"We have also lifted a ban on maize export to enable Kenyan maize importers easy access of the commodity," Siliya told journalists in Nairobi.

In this new arrangement, the Zambian government removed 10 percent on additional tax on maize exported to Kenya hence fast tracking the movement of the commodity.

Siliya said that Zambia has taken the bold step in removing the long-existing bottleneck that remained a major problem between the two countries.

The Kenyan government has reached out to the international community to help send aid as 23 out of 47 counties have faced disastrous drought.

Under this agreement, Kenya will import 100,000 tonnes of maize and 40,000 tonnes of sugar. Already 16,000 tonnes of sugar has been imported to bridge the existing gap.

Siliya said that Zambia currently has 1.4 million tonnes surplus of maize following a bumper harvest last year.

She announced that her country has also opened an express lane to facilitate express clearance for maize and sugar exports to Kenya at the border.

"We need to start trading with our neighbors as opposed to trading with Asia, Europe and America to pave way for creation of employment and fight against poverty.

In February, many parts of the Kenya faced drought, forcing the government to declare a national disaster.

Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Willy Bett confirmed the duty waivers on importation of maize, sugar and milk until the situation normalizes.

The two countries also agreed to resolve the outstanding issues on milk and palm oil products without further delays. Milk and palm oil exports from Kenya to Zambia have remained unresolved for a long time.

Zambia's Finance Minister Felix Mutati called on the two countries to ensure that policies and regulations that facilitate trade be approved to benefit the private sector.

"The change in rules will help creates jobs and also generate revenue for the countries," he said, adding that agriculture is the biggest income earner in the two countries.

The agreements were signed following a visit to Zambia by the East African Regional Grain traders that called for an overhaul of the stringent policies.


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