Commodities

Tanzania, Uganda supply majority of Kenya's maize imports

maize

A maize storage facility. Kenya imported 44,740 metric tonnes of white maize from the region in the second quarter of 2020. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Summary

  • Kenya imported 44,740 metric tonnes of white maize from the region in the second quarter of 2020, accounting for more than three quarters of the total grain sold across borders in the period in East Africa.
  • The latest Food Security and Nutrition Working Group (FSNWG) East Africa Cross Border Trade report shows that 58 and 39 per cent of the imports came from Uganda and Tanzania, respectively.
  • The traded volume of white maize in the region, however, dropped by 58 per cent in the second quarter, from 97,960 metric tonnes during the first quarter of the year.

Kenya imported 44,740 metric tonnes of white maize from the region in the second quarter of 2020, accounting for more than three quarters of the total grain sold across borders in the period in East Africa.

The latest Food Security and Nutrition Working Group (FSNWG) East Africa Cross Border Trade report shows that 58 and 39 per cent of the imports came from Uganda and Tanzania, respectively.

"Around 77 per cent and 18 per cent of the exports (white maize grain) were destined for Kenya and South Sudan, respectively," the report says.

"The price of white maize grain is expected to trend typically, but remain slightly higher than the recent five-year average in Kenya as the country fills the gap in supply by imports from overseas.”

The traded volume of white maize in the region, however, dropped by 58 per cent in the second quarter, from 97,960 metric tonnes during the first quarter of the year.

"The reduced volume was attributed to delayed effects of Covid-19 measures to control infections enacted in the first quarter, especially significant reduction of informal cross border trade with closure of borders except for formal trade, and the screening of track drivers that delayed and increased the costs of transport," said FSNWG.

As at June 31, the Ministry of Agriculture’s food balance sheet showed that the country's maize stockpile stood at 3.45 million bags against the required 4.25 million bags needed to feed Kenyans monthly.

Other stockpiles included beans (2.58 million bags), wheat (737,822), sorghum (455,716), millet (63,623) and green grams (998,326). Some of the main traded commodities in the region include white maize (24 per cent), dry beans (13 per cent),sorghum (13 per cent), rice (13 per cent), maize flour (11 per cent), wheat flour (11 per cent), sugar (nine per cent) and sesame seed ( six per cent).

Kenya imported eight per cent of the 49,000 metric tonnes of sorghum traded in the region between the period with South Sudan accounting 86 per cent. Uganda accounted for 92 per cent of sorghum exports.