1. Industry News

KEPHIS to Conduct Safety Assessments on Indian Wheat

Millers had asked the government in April to conduct a risk assessment to aid in decision-making on lifting the ban and allowing wheat imports from India. The Cereal Millers Association's CEO, Paloma Fernades, lamented that the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis had caused a supply disruption.

Shivam Dwivedi
"While India is not the only country from which millers can source wheat, it may provide a cheaper option for the commodity," he said.
"While India is not the only country from which millers can source wheat, it may provide a cheaper option for the commodity," he said.

Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS) plans to send a team to India to inspect and certify that wheat from the Asian country is pest-free before it can be imported. This follows a ban imposed by the regulator on wheat imports from India due to a fungal disease known as Karnal Bunt (KB).

The regulatory body was concerned that if the disease entered the country, it would have an impact on local production.

"We are in discussions with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Cereal Millers Association about sending KEPHIS inspectors to India to inspect wheat-growing areas and certify that it is pest-free," said Theophilus Mutui, Managing Director of KEPHIS.

Mutui informed that they have yet to send officers to the Asian country, but that they are discussing how to address the situation as soon as possible.

"While India is not the only country from which millers can source wheat, it may provide a cheaper option for the commodity. However, until we are certain that the pest is not present, we cannot allow it to enter the country," he said.

Millers had asked the government in April to conduct a risk assessment to aid in decision-making on lifting the ban and allowing wheat imports from India. The Cereal Millers Association's CEO, Paloma Fernades, lamented that the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis had caused a supply disruption.

According to The Star, Russia and Ukraine supply 33 percent of the world's wheat, with Kenya receiving nearly 66 percent of its supply from the two countries.

"Indian wheat is significantly cheaper than the rest of the world, selling at a discount of about USD 50-80 less than world wheat, which is nearly $500 per tonne," Fernades said. She mentioned that Tanzania and Uganda were both currently buying wheat from India.

"Unfortunately, we are unable to import from India due to the ban, but our neighbors in Uganda and Tanzania will be able to import and will be more competitive in the market in terms of wheat," she explained.

According to the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa's (AGRA) May-Food Security Monitoring report, consumers in some African countries such as Kenya, Egypt, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, and Cameroon are beginning to diversify their grain diets as global wheat prices continue to rise.

According to the Global Trade Tracker, Cote d'Ivoire, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, and South Africa will receive 147,200 metric tonnes of wheat from Argentina. This represents a 33% increase over last year.

"This has been made even more necessary by India's recent wheat export ban, which had emerged as an alternative source of wheat supplies. The India ban was prompted by a severe heatwave that hit the country in mid-March 2022, resulting in a decrease in wheat production forecasts," according to the food security monitoring report.

Share your comments

Subscribe to our Newsletter. You choose the topics of your interest and we'll send you handpicked news and latest updates based on your choice.

Subscribe Newsletters