Government of Uganda has called for a crisis meeting to settle the deadlock between Uganda and Kenya that has seen the maize exportation from Uganda to Kenya banned by the latter.
Speaking to local newspaper Daily Monitor on Tuesday, Mr Julius Maganda, the State minister for the East African Community (EAC) Affairs, said Uganda’s ministers of Trade, Agriculture, East African Community Affairs and Finance are scheduled to hold a meeting today to come up with a common stand regarding the ban, ahead of another meeting with their Kenyan counterparts slated for March 11.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Ms Amelia Kyambadde, also confirmed today’s meeting but declined to divulge more details because “l am still consulting”.
According to the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) in Kenya, Ugandan maize contains mycotoxins, particularly aflatoxins and fumonisins, which can cause cancer.
The ban comes at a time when the country is still grappling with the economic impact of the Covid-19 restrictions.
There is now fear among farmers and maize dealers that the ban would further push the grain prices even lower than they already are.
Ordinarily, a farmer sells a kilogramme of grain at an average of Shs400 across the country.
The ban on maize would also see Uganda lose an average of $121m (Shs447b) in annual revenue, according to data obtained from Bank of Uganda.
At the Busia Border, traders are stranded with more than 100 trucks loaded with maize grain.
Mr Paul Mwongo, a Kenyan transporter, said: “I loaded more than 20 tonnes of maize from Kampala destined for Mombasa but when I reached Malaba border, I was stopped by the Kenyan authorities. The owner of the maize advised me to change the route to Busia but still I have been denied entry,” Mr Mwongo said.
Mr Frank Kasumba, the manager of Busia market, told the Daily Monitor yesterday, that the ban was already taking a huge toll on traders, transporters and farmers both in Uganda and Kenya.
He said 150 trucks each loaded with more than nine tonnes of maize cross the border to Kenya on a daily basis while between 300,000 to 500,000 bags of maize are sold to Kenya monthly.
This is not the first time Kenya has banned products from Uganda. Last year, Kenya stopped the importation of Lato Milk, following complaints of influx of Ugandan milk.
Kenya also placed a ban on all chicken, meat and egg imports under the pretext that it needed to support its “producers to recover from disruptions in their livestock enterprises occasioned by Covid-19.”
In July 2020, more than 100 Ugandan trucks carrying about 6,000 tonnes of sugarcane were stuck at the Busia border following a ban on the importation of raw sugarcane and brown sugar by Kenya.
Do you have a story or an opinion to share? Email us on: firstname.lastname@example.org Or join the Daily Express WhatsApp channel for all the latest news and trends or join the Telegram Channel for the latest updates.