Africa Newsletter 04-04-19

Africa News

Market Update 04-04-19


Because the vetting process and conditions introduced by Kenya Farmers Association director Kipkorir Menjo has made the registration process slow and arduous, few farmers have thus far registered and are selling product to independent traders at Ksh 2,000/90kg despite the board paying Ksh 2,500 per 90-kilo bag of maize. The National Cereals and Produce Board has so far bought 391,000 bags of maize and is yet to meet its target of 2 million bags. Rains have set in most parts of the country specifically Northeastern, Western and Nyanza and parts of Eastern Kenya. Rains in North Rift are yet to start hence farmers are yet to start planting. Moderate wet weather is expected over the Western parts of the country and the Central Highlands. With Wajir, Garissa, Mandera, Isiolo and Marsabit counties receiving more than 30mm in 24 hours.

The Agriculture ministry has signaled plans to start controlling prices of food produce such as maize, beans and rice to curb exploitation of consumers in what will increase the number of products whose costs are fixed. The three are among 23 commonly consumed food items whose prices will be Statecontrolled if approved and will join fuel and bank loans among products whose pricing are controlled by the State. Sorghum, wheat, cassava, sweet potatoes, millet and pea are also in the list of food produce targeted for control. An 11-member Food Crops Pricing Committee will be responsible for reviewing food produce prices and advising the Agriculture secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri on the policy.

Food price controls are almost certain to fail and should be seen with skepticism by all parties involved. Price controls everywhere in history has worsened conditions.


The maize price in the Greater Kampala area is currently at UGX 900 per kg and UGX 850 per kg in Mubende. There has been a reduced rainfall in the Mubende area but some farmers planted early in preparation for the June crop. In Jinja maize is trading at UGX 950 per kg. According to Uganda Bureau of Statistics (Ubos), agriculture is the most important sector of the economy. The sector employs more than one-third of the work force along the value chain and there are still other opportunities of making some money. This is possible especially if you add value to what farmers produce. Some of the commodities that you can add value (process) and earn a premium price include; sunflower for cooking oil, rice (sorted and packaged), millet, maize (flour and maize bran). Others include beans (sorted and packaged), Sim Sim (paste or roasted), cassava (flour) and groundnuts (paste or roasted and packaged).

Uganda, Ethiopia coffee exports dip – ICO report

Uganda and Ethiopia, Africa’s leading coffee exporters suffered a decline in shipment in the first four months of the coffee calendar amidst global falling prices. According to latest records from the International Coffee Organisation (ICO), Uganda – the largest exporter in Africa, recorded an 8.8 per cent to 1.47 million bags from October 2018 to January 2019.ICO records further show that Ethiopia the region’s largest producer, and second largest exporter due to significant domestic consumption of coffee, in the first four months of 2018/19, saw its exports decrease by 8.9 per cent to 1 million bags.

Researchers get grants to find solution to aflatoxin

Researchers from three universities in Africa have secured funds from African Union Research Grants Programme to conduct studies on how to fight aflatoxin in maize, manage diseases in fish and improve the breed of ingenious chicken. The universities — Makerere in Uganda, University of Eduardo Mondlane in Mozambique and the University of Zambia—are leading the project. Aflatoxins are highly toxic and found in grains such as maize, ground nuts, sorghum and wheat. Exposure to them can lead to stunting and immune system suppression.