Maize farmers have reason to smile as prices for both fresh and dry maize rise, which could mean higher income for them.
The increase, farmers say, is due to a short supply on the market given that there was crop failure country-wide due to the long dry spell.
Joseph Ouma, a produce dealer, told Daily Monitor that the May dry spell hit when most of the maize in the field was flowering.
The harvest season for maize begun in August and ends this month.
“Dry maize is Shs700 up from Shs600 in July while at farm gate, fresh maize is Shs400 for a big cob and Shs200 for a small one,” Ouma noted. “Those who roast maize now sell a big one at Shs600-Shs700”
David Kaye, a maize trader in Mubende District, says a kilo of dry maize is Shs850 to traders from Kenya and Tanzania and to local agro-processors.
He attributes the price rise to poor yields in the February-March harvest season. This led to scarcity, which pushed up demand. “Few farmers and traders stocked dry maize leading to acute shortages of the produce,” notes Daudi Ssemukasa, a maize farmer in Kayunga District.
Ouma, however, predicts that given the poor yields, the prices for dry maize will rise to Shs1,000 or more a kilo, especially when schools re-open.
“Demand for maize flour will increase as well as the price,” Ouma says. “Prices will stabilise when the current crop gets sufficient rains and yields.”
A kilo of maize flour is about Shs2,000.
Though the August planting season is on, most farmers have not yet started planting because the rains have not yet come.