Commodities

Serbia eyes Kenya with wheat exports to bridge local gap

narok-wheat

The competition watchdog has stopped a bid by large-scale millers to manage the allocation of locally produced wheat among themselves. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Serbian ambassador to Kenya Dargan Zupanjevac says the country has had talks with millers and the Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC) for them to export the grain to Kenya.
  • Serbia is one of the top wheat producers in the world ranking among the top 50 countries in terms of yields per year.
  • Serbia in March announced a temporary ban on exports of wheat and other commodities, with Kenya likely to benefit once the restrictions are lifted.

Serbia is seeking to export at least 150,000 tonnes of wheat to Kenya to bridge the gap left by Russia and Ukraine in the wake of a war between the two countries.

Serbian ambassador to Kenya Dargan Zupanjevac says the country has had talks with millers and the Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC) for them to export the grain to Kenya and forestall an expected supply crisis.

Serbia is one of the top wheat producers in the world ranking among the top 50 countries in terms of yields per year.

“We want to see if Serbia can step in to fill the supplies from Russia and Ukraine by exporting wheat to Kenya to avoid a supply crisis that Kenya could face in the coming months,” said Mr Zupanjevac.

Serbia in March announced a temporary ban on exports of wheat and other commodities, with Kenya likely to benefit once the restrictions are lifted.

Kenya relies on wheat from Ukraine and Russia, importing a third of all the produce required to meet the local needs.

Currently, local millers are hardly accessing wheat from the Black Sea following the closure of ports along this shipping corridor due to the Russia-Ukraine war. Last month, they asked the government to lift the ban on imports from India, which they termed an alternative market.

Several countries are searching for alternative source markets following the current impasse in eastern Europe. Tanzania and Uganda have indicated that they would import the grain from India to cater to their local needs.

Millers have said their stocks would run up to August before they bring in grain, adding that the prices are likely to go up because of the expensive crop in the market.

“The new crop we are ordering will be expensive because of the current global price. What we are selling is from the stock that we had ordered before the Ukraine-Russia crisis,” said Rajan Shah, chief executive at Capwell Industries.

The price of a two-kilo packet of wheat flour has hit a high of Sh180 from Sh130 on the shortage locally, with millers warning that the supply will deteriorate in the coming months if the situation does not improve.

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