Slow maize grain sales speculated at Busia.

February 14, 2018

This year begun with robust grain trading at the Kenya-Uganda border posts when several traders turned up to purchase grain and cereals from Uganda. The 2nd season was indeed a bumper harvest for most staples after having received normal to above normal rainfall in most part of the country. Maize production in particular was targeted by many farmers when its market price shot to Ugx.1,350/kg wholesale in Kampala in the first week of December 2016. In maize producing locations the buying price increased to Ugx.900-1000/kg at farmgate price then.

This increment in grain price then excited farmers to grow maize and in fact some districts that were not known for maize production participated in cultivating it last season leading to a bumper harvest. The first season 2017 was ardently followed as the Kenyan community went through a muddled electoral process notwithstanding the fact that they are one of our big market outlet. It was until the final week of the year (2017) when brisk grain trade was reported specifically at Busia with an estimated volume of 1,000-2,000Mt daily flowing to Kenya informally.

Reports have it that the Tanzanian and Rwandese seasons have opened and the Ugandan market in Kampala received some freshly harvested yellow beans from Rwanda though at a higher price Ugx.2800/kg compared to the home grown beans at Ugx.2400-2500/kg.

The Tanzania supply is expected to reach Busia via Namanga and is speculated to slow down grain business on the Uganda side as it is expected cheaper and will most likely reduce the Ugandan maize price inwards. Traders continue ferrying maize from several production locations to Busia where they have sold at a better price.

Maize cost Ksh.21/kg (Ugx.743/kg) at the border post market of Busia. This maize trade flow has sustained the grain price higher than it was expected to drop and any other grain supply will jeopardize the market price considering the volumes that are heading eastward.

In Kampala the maize price fluctuated between Ugx.680-700/kg for some time. Grain millers in and round the city and its suburbs noted slow trade because the market is filled with other staples like matooke, cassava, and potato which are direct substitutes. A sack of 130kgs cost Ugx.130,000 while a sizable bunch of matooke cost Ugx.15,000-25,000.

Beans price has been stable and stocks are held at various locations in the rural areas anticipating better price. In Kampala Short Nambale (Nabe1) beans cost Ugx.2200-2300/kg wholesale while Yellow beans were offered at Ugx.2400-2500/kg wholesale in most Kampala markets. Beans were retailed at Ugx.2600-3300/kg depending on a number of issues.

Several traders stocked for markets through supply contracts to the (EAC). At Busia produce border market, volumes traded have have declined since it was more lucrative to deal in fasting moving maize grain. Yellow beans were preferred at Ksh.68/kg (2,407/kg), Nambale beans at Ksh.53/kg (Ugx.1,876/kg),Red beans at Ksh.49/kg (Ugx.1734/kg) and mixed beans at Ksh.42/kg (Ugx.1486/kg)

The much preferred super rice did not do well in season B 2017 especially in Tororo and Mbale. Some supply was reported from Gulu and Soroti were prices are cheaper at national grid. Soroti in particular had a good yield. Less import of super rice from Tanzania was observed into the New Year. A lot of adulteration of this variety is going on. Other varieties were fairly supplied; Kaiso at Ugx.2700-2800/kg.

Farmgain Africa.

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