Uganda has signed an agreement with neighbouring Kenya to export 600,000 tons of maize annually. The deal offers a ready market for Ugandan maize exporters, who have in the past been saddled with surplus stocks.
A race to get Uganda’s maize to regional markets.
Uganda has cut a deal with Kenya’s cereal board to supply over 600,000 tons of maize.
Kenya is Uganda’s biggest maize export market but most of the trade has been informal.
“This arrangement will help farmers and traders because now we got ready market. Before we were just speculating. People would buy a lot of stock hoping that prices would go up and in the end it doesn’t raise and in the end they would lose money.” Haji Abudalla Kamira, who is a maize exporter said.
A ton of maize grain will now sell at 225 dollars in the Kenyan market. Ugandan maize exporters say they are satisfied with that price.
In this warehouse is tons of maize ready for export to Kenya. The corn has been graded and it’s passed the quality test from the standards bureau.
Uganda produces close to 4 million tons of maize annually however very little is consumed locally.
80% is exported as grain to regional markets.
But most of the maize traded informally is not graded by the bureau of standards and is therefore poor quality. Therefore the prices offered for such maize is low.
“The big part is traded informally, those driving 20 trucks, 4 trucks to Rwanda, Sudan etc Kenyan traders are coming to the villages and buying, Rwandans are buying… they are the ones who distort. And i think government now should come in and that makes it very difficult to make the right data but at the end of the day the government loses because that should be foreign revenue.” Chris Kaijuka, chairperson at Uganda’s Grain Council said.
Last season Uganda’s maize exports to Kenya declined due to the uncertainty of the election period.
Traders in Uganda were scared of exporting their stocks to Kenya for fear of post-election violence.
Maize farmers also suffered lose from last year’s army worm attack which badly affected crops.
But now more Ugandan maize is expected to pour in to the Kenyan market with a deal sealed.