Africa Newsletter 05-17-19

Africa News

Market Update 05-17-19

Kenya market update 

Maize prices in the Rift Valley have dropped as NCPB plans to sell off more than two million bags from its stores. The prices increased to more than 3,200 bags last month for a 90kg bag. But the prices have dropped to between Sh2,600-Sh2,800 in Eldoret, Kitale, Bungoma and other areas with millers in Nairobi buying at an average price of Ksh 3100 per 90kg.

Of the 2.6 Million bags of maize set to be released by National Cereals and produce board, large milling companies under the Cereal Millers Association will take 1.1 million bags at Sh2,300 per 90kg while small scale millers under United Grain Millers Association will have 674,000 bags at the same price. The rest of the maize, about 500,000 bags, will go to posho mills, schools and other government institutions.

Harvesting of maize has started in parts of Tanzania and product is finding its way to the Kenyan market selling at Kshs 2,600 per 90kg at the border.

Uganda market update

The Bunyoro region has experienced good rains and expects to see the new crop coming into the market in June with beans and maize. Most of Mubende has not been as fortunate as the late rains saw a cutback on planting for maize and beans. The Mubende area expects a small crop in late July, early August. In Kampala the price of maize remains high at over UGX 1,200 per kg while in Jinja maize is trading at UGX 1,250. Soybeans remains scarce until the new crop in June and July. Some soybeans buyers are looking into imports in the COMESA trading block for alternative options but transport remains the bottleneck with quotes of 250 USD per metric ton from Zambia to Uganda.

UN agency halts distribution of supplement after Uganda deaths

The World Food Programme (WFP) announced Friday it had suspended global distribution of a food supplement from one of its suppliers after three people died in Uganda and nearly 300 others fell ill. As part of its precautions, the UN agency said it was impounding more than 21,000 tonnes of the product, pending the outcome of safety tests. Three people died and 293 were hospitalised in northeastern Uganda in March and April after consuming the fortified blended food, which is known as Super Cereal, the WFP said. The product is used worldwide by the WFP to prevent malnutrition, particularly in women and children.

Uganda, 13 other countries to commit 1% of their budget for agricultural research agricultural research

In a move to address the glaring food insecurity several African countries are facing, Uganda and 13 other continental states have committed to increase funding for agricultural research in their respective countries. In a communique, the ministers of agriculture from the 14 African countries, including Uganda, pledged on behalf of their respective nations to dedicate at least one percent (1%) of their total national resource envelop to agricultural research. Most agricultural research in Africa are donor funded which according to the executive director of Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa, Dr Yemi Akinbamijo, has robbed of the conscious of continental scientists and researchers, urging continental government to take up research funding responsibilities.

Is Kenya finally ready for rollout of GM crops?

The Kenyan Cabinet is over the next two months expected to make a monumental decision over lifting of a ban on genetically modified organisms. Despite prolonged procrastination on the divisive technology, finally looks likely. The Cabinet is to decide on whether Kenya would lift the ban that was imposed in 2012 and which was informed by a controversial study that alleged GMOs cause cancer. Kenya’s move will be closely watched by other East Africa countries including Uganda and Tanzania where research and contained trials of GM crops are ongoing.