Photographer: Riccardo Gangale/Bloomberg

Kenya Plans to Import Yellow Corn for First Time Since 2011

Kenya has approved the import of 5 million bags, or 450,000 metric tons, of yellow corn from Ukraine as a drought slashes its own output of the grain.

The imports, the first of the variety since 2011, will be brought in by private companies and sold to animal feed millers, said Johnson Irungu, Director of Crops at the Ministry of Agriculture, in an interview on Thursday. Imports will be sought immediately, he said.

Arrival of the corn from Ukraine will free up more locally grown white corn for human consumption, said Jacques Pienaar, an analyst at South Africa’s Commodity Insight Africa. Corn yields in Kenya this season have halved because of the drought, the National Drought Management Authority said on Feb. 6. The imports will cost $260 to $270 a ton if landed at the port of Mombasa, according to Pienaar. That would mean a total cost of about $119 million.

“It will basically help” ease pressure on white corn supplies, Pienaar said by phone. “It will definitely make a dent.”

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