‘Low harvest and Rwanda border closure leading to rise of maize and bean prices in Uganda’

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KAMPALA, UGANDA: An international famine early warning organisation has cited the closure of the Rwanda border as one of the reasons for the increased prices of beans in Uganda.

“Although market supply of maize is lower than normal, reduced export demand from Kenya and border restrictions on trade with Rwanda are mitigating higher price increases. However, regional export demand for beans remains high, which has contributed to bean price increases. According to FarmGain Africa, bean exports through Busia regional trade hub to Kenya remained high in April at approximately 100MT per day, while maize exports sharply declined from about 400MT per day to a mere 20MT per day. The decline in maize exports to Kenya is attributed to the release of staple grain reserves by the Kenya Cereal Produce Board coupled with cheap imports from Tanzania, which had a bumper harvest. Although Uganda’s domestic bean supply is lower than normal due to the delayed and below-average harvest, FEWS NET cross-border trade monitoring data from Mpondwe indicate that beans are being imported at atypical levels from the DRC, Tanzania, and Malawi, and most of these imports are likely being re-exported to Kenya and South Sudan,” a release on Friday June 15th by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) said.

FEWSNET is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity. Created by USAID in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises, FEWS NET provides evidence-based analysis on some 28 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, and USGS, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica.

The release goes on to explain that further impacting household food access across Uganda are below-average household income levels and declines in the terms of trade for cereals.

“Demand for agricultural and livestock-related labour was below average in March and April, and demand only partially rebounded in May given reduced area planted. Although many poor households in bimodal Uganda have been able to rely on crop sales income from the 2018 second season, households in Teso sub-region have had below-average crops sales income due to locally below-average 2018 production. Current low demand for livestock and the livestock quarantine in Moroto and Kaabong have also driven sales of livestock and livestock products to below-average levels in cattle corridor areas. In Karamoja, the terms of trade for sorghum against charcoal and firewood rapidly declined by 26-75 percent and 15-60 percent in April compared to April 2018 and the five-year averages, respectively. Poor households are otherwise expanding their reliance on perennial cassava sales (particularly in Teso sub-region), fishing, income from non-agricultural casual labor, petty trade, and sales of natural resources,” the release said.

 

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