Maize traders in Kenya have stepped up the importation of cheap dry maize from Uganda as prices in East Africa’s biggest economy remain high despite long rains season harvest.
The traders are importing from the neighboring country up to 1,000 Metric Tonnes (MT) of the produce per day, new data from the East African Grain Council (EAGC) showed Tuesday.
The imports have surged considerably as months ago the traders would import as low as 10 MT a day through the same border points.
The maize inflows are mainly coming through the Busia, Malaba and Lwakhakha border points in Western Kenya, with the bulk coming through the former.
On Monday, according to EAGC market information, traders imported 609 MT of produce from Uganda through the Busia border point. Malaba and Lwakhakha recorded 3MT each.
Last Friday, however, the cross-border imports peaked at 1,000MT as Busia recorded 990MT while Malaba 4MT and Lwakhakha 2MT. On Thursday, some 900MT had been shipped into Kenya through the Busia border.
“Maize is cheaper in Uganda going for 18 U.S. dollars per bag unlike in Kenya where it is almost twice the price. Myself I am buying maize from Uganda and coming to mill it in Kenya at my posho mill,” Vincent Onyango, a teacher and a businessman in Busia, said Tuesday on phone.
Onyango noted that while small traders are bringing in their maize with bicycles, the big traders are using trucks
Beside maize, other grains the traders are bringing in from Uganda are sorghum, millet, rice and beans. Beans imports stands at an average of 50MT a day from less than 3MT months ago, according to the EAGC.
The cost of maize across major towns in Kenya currently stands at between 24 dollars and 36 dollars, which is unusually high.
During such times, prices normally drop to an average of 20 dollars following the long rains season harvest. Enditem