Maize prices increase amid scarcity
Posted Tuesday, February 19 2013 at 12:18
Rising commodity price. A kilogramme of maize is currently costing about Shs1,000 up from Shs600 early in the year.
A big Maize exporters are struggling to meet their orders as the commodity continues to experience low supplies thus pushing up prices.
The low supply has been blamed on the unreliable weather condition which has affected farmer’s productivity.
In an interview with Prosper, Mr Faisal Ssenabulya, the general manager-Ssenabulya Faisal Entreprises said: “The last harvest was very poor and this has greatly impacted our business.”
He said his company currently buys a kilogramme of maize at Shs800 up from Shs600 a year ago.
However information from the Uganda Commodities Exchange website indicates that the price is much higher with a kilogramme of Grade 1 maize corns being quoted at Shs1,000.
The Regional Agricultural Intelligent Network (RATIN) – a subsidiary of the East Africa Grain Council noted that in January Kampala’s main grain dealerships including Kisenyi, Tororo, Mbale, Lira and Masindi, reported price increases of 0.5 per cent, 0.2 per cent, 0.3 per cent 0.5, per cent and 0.2 per cent respectively.
Whereas in Busia and Kasese both wholesale and retail prices stayed unchanged. The average weekly wholesale price for maize stood at $260 per metric tonne.
Mr Ssenabulya’s company exports maize mostly to Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and South Sudan. During the peak season he exports between 50,000 and 60,000 metric tonnes of maize but this has since dropped.
Thus Mr Ssenabulya and other exporters have not been able to benefit from the rising prices of the commodity in the neighboring countries including Tanzania - one of Uganda’s biggest markets after Kenya.
Uganda exports most of her maize within the EAC and Comesa with information from Uganda Export Promotion Board showing that the country exported 89,245 metric tonnes of the commodity worth $26.7 million in 2011.
However, during the 2010 harvest season the country posted 156,586 metric tonnes worth $38.2 million in exports.
According to the RATIN report, Tanzania’s maize prices continued to rise despite the government’s effort to supply relief maize.
The maize that was being supplied by the National Food Reserve Agency retailed at a lower price of $283 per metric tonne.
However in Kenya apart from Kisumu, maize prices in all other monitored markets remained unchanged as demand and supply in the markets were reportedly constant.
“In Kisumu, an 8.5 per cent decrease in price was recorded due to high supply of maize mainly through the Busia border,” the report said.
Rwanda’s maize prices recorded on downward trend in most markets with averages of $383 per metric tonne, indicating a 10.2 per cent decreases from last week’s average of $427 per metric tonne.