By Our Reporter
KAMPALA- SHIFTMEDIA– Maize imports from Uganda rose five-fold in January compared to a similar period last year as traders and millers rushed to bring in the grain in anticipation of a shortage.
Data from the Ministry of Agriculture indicates the volume of maize brought into the country went up to 523,000 bags during the review period from 101,000 in January 2020, an increase of 418 percent.
The effects of the importation have already been felt in the North Rift where the price of the produce has started coming down on account of increased supply in the market.
Uganda has been harvesting maize since last month and Kenya serves as a major market for its grain in the region, with most of the produce brought in by millers.
“Most stocks from Uganda and Tanzania are supplied by brokers,” said chief executive officer of Capwel industries Rajan Shah.
Millers are happy that the cross-border imports have helped to stabilise the market as the price of the produce had started going up, although this will hit farmers who were banking on the higher prices to increase their earnings for their crop.
“The stocks coming in from Uganda have helped to stabilise the prices in the market and we expect the cost to remain within the current levels of Sh2,800 for some time,” said Ken Nyagah, chairman of the United Grain Millers Association.
National Cereals and Produce Board increased the price at which it buys maize from farmers from Sh2,500 to Sh2,700, prompting millers to revise their cost upwards in order to attract supplies from growers.
NCPB managing director Joseph Kimote said the board has so far received 200,000 bags of 90 kilo bags of grain, up from 100,000 a fortnight ago.
In Trans-Nzoia and Uasin Gishu, traders have flooded the region with imports from Uganda, a move that already taking a toll on local farmers.
The imports have pushed down the price of the produce in North Rift to Sh2,200 for a 90 kilogramme bag from Sh2,300 at farm gate initially.
Source: Business Daily