East Africa’s grain traders have started buying maize from Uganda at about half the international price, after a bounty harvest in the country
Uganda has sold about 38,000 tonnes of maize worth US$15.2mn to its regional neighbours in the past one month, with around 30,500 tonnes, going to Kenya, reported East African.
According to the source, the Kenyan traders have taken advantage of the low prices in Uganda's Tororo, Gulu, Masindi and Lira regions to ship in the product for US$180 per tonne. In Kenyan market, a tonne is going for as high as US$430, said the source.
Rwanda, through its Gatuna and Cyanika border points imported 5,405 tonnes of the produce from Uganda in the same period, followed by the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) which brought in 1,105 tonnes through the Rusizi, Mpondwe and Rubavu border points.
Kenya aims to ramp up its maize reserves, which ran out mid this year forcing the government to import more than 200,000 tonnes from Brazil.
Willy Bett, agriculture cabinet secretary in Kenya, said that Kenya has suffered an acute shortage of grain following poor harvest in 2016. The country normally imports grain from Uganda and Tanzania to bridge the deficit.
In 2016, Tanzania exported more than 1.5mn tonnes of cereals to the neighbouring countries. However, it is also facing food shortages in spite of producing around three million tonnes of surplus food in the 2016 harvest season, blaming it on unregulated exports which have affected food reserves.