As much as 124,486 baggage of maize held by the State within the Strategic Meals Reserve (SFR) are contaminated with aflatoxin at a time when the nation is considering import of the grain to plug a biting shortfall.

The Ministry of Agriculture has in a report tabled in Parliament revealed that greater than half of the contaminated maize is to be destroyed by incineration. The steadiness is for use in processing of animal feeds. In line with the World Well being Organisation (WHO), massive doses of aflatoxin results in acute poisoning (aflatoxicosis) that may be life-threatening, normally by harm to the liver.

Lengthy-term or persistent publicity to aflatoxins has a number of well being penalties and will have an effect on all organ techniques, particularly the liver and kidneys. It could additionally trigger liver most cancers.

The Nationwide Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB), which shops the strategic meals reserves (SFR), early final month mentioned maize price Sh9.2 billion was prone to going to waste after the cash-strapped State company ran out of funds to gentle storage silos and perform fumigation. The cash-strapped NCPB mentioned its staff had gone with out salaries for 2 months, paralysing important providers.

Kenya Energy had additionally disconnected electrical energy connection over pending payments.

The SFR board is but to decide on whether or not to approve the destruction of the toxic maize regardless of suggestions by an inter-agency workforce that the grain ought to be disposed by incineration with supervision of the directorate of public well being.

The report, tabled earlier than the Senate committee on Agriculture, reveals that about half of the maize with dangerous aflatoxin ranges (greater than 20 elements per billion towards the East African Neighborhood customary of 10 elements per billion) is being held in Machakos and Nakuru depots.

Different shares with aflatoxin ranges of beneath 20ppb are being held in Nairobi, Meru, Migori, Lugari and Isiolo NCPB depots.

“Maize with whole aflatoxin ranges of greater than 20ppb be disposed by incineration in a kiln ideally Bamburi Cement manufacturing unit which may attain temperatures of greater than 2,000 levels centigrade required for denaturing the aflatoxin,” the report recommends.

The federal government final week introduced that it’s going to open a window for duty-free import of 12.5 million baggage of maize to satisfy a shortfall that has seen shelf costs hit Sh125 for a two-kg packet of flour. Ten million baggage out of the 12.5 million earmarked for importation will likely be white maize for family consumption whereas 2.5 million will likely be yellow maize for processing of animal feeds. The contaminated maize report reveals that the Machakos depot is holding 10,710 baggage of the grain with the very best aflatoxin ranges of 28.eight ppb adopted by Nakuru depot the place 54,597 baggage with 28.6ppb ranges.

Isiolo has 11,663 baggage which can be contaminated, Meru (14,460), Lugari (26,264), Nairobi (5,427) and Migori (1,504). The contamination ranges vary between 13.6ppb to 28.8ppb. Agriculture Secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri says the Ministry constituted an inter-agency committee on meals security and requirements with members from Nationwide Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB), Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Analysis Organisation (Kalro), Kenya Plant Well being Inspectorate Service (Kephis), Kenya Bureau of Requirements (Kebs) and Ministry of Well being to hold out sampling and subsequent laboratory evaluation for aflatoxin contamination.

“The collected maize samples had been topic to laboratory evaluation and the outcomes confirmed {that a} whole of 6,231.25 MT in seven depots had aflatoxin ranges of greater than 10 ppb,” Mr Kiunjuri mentioned, including that two rounds of sampling had been carried out in November 2018 and January 18, 2019.

He mentioned the committee, led by the ministry of Well being visited the seven depots from March three and seven to isolate and formally seize the maize contaminated with aflatoxin as required by the legislation.

Mr Kiunjuri, in a quick introduced to MPs by Andrew Tuimur, the Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) instructed mentioned the committee had made a lot of suggestions pursuant to the East African Neighborhood (EAC) Coverage Temporary No.eight of 2018.