Market Update 12-05-18
The price of maize has been steady in Nairobi and Thika trading at Sh 2,200/90kg, while prices have increased slightly in Eldoret and Nakuru trading at Sh 1,700 and Sh 1,800/90kg, respecively. Pigeon peas and green gram prices have also remained consistent, trading at a discount in Nairobi and Thika compared to Eldoret and Nakuru.
Farmers are still at odds with the recent price proposed by the government of Sh 2,300 per 90-kilogram bag. Many leaders are questioning the price decrease, citing that agricultural inputs such as fertilizer have increased production costs. The current proposed price is a significant decrease from last year when the government procured maize at the price of Sh 3,200/90kg. Local governors are calling for a price upwards of Sh 3,600. With the recent debacle with the NCPB, the idea that the government as a trusted entity which should step in is baffling.
Looking forward, the Kenyan government has stated its intention to increase maize production from 40 million to 67 million 90-kilogram bags by 2022 in effort to cover the annual domestic consumption of 52 million 90-kilogram bags. Irrigation Principal Secretary, Fred Segor, says government has proposed expanding maize irrigation by almost 200,000 acres while also expanding rice production by almost four times to 408,486 metric tons. This initiative is certainly a positive step forward in developing the domestic capacity to produce at outputs closer to global levels and help domestic food security, increasing both the production of food staples such as maize and rice.
Maize prices have continued to rise across Uganda, trading at UGX 650 per kilogram in the Greater Kampala area and UGX 580 per kilogram in Mubende, Kigumba and Masindi. Many farmers are indicating that more grain will be entering the market during the month of December and are expecting downward pressures on prices as supply increases. Sesame seeds are trading at UGX 4,500/kg before the new crop is introduced to the market. Red kidney beans are beginning to enter the market and are trading at UGX 1,650/kg in the Greater Kampala area. The most recent crop is reported to still have high moisture content above 18%, for any drying solutions please contact the PXAfrica team.
Last week, the Ugandan government passed the Genetic Engineering Regulatory Bill 2018 to regulate genetically modified organisms (GMOs). While President Museveni must still sign the bill, under the new proposed legislation, GMOs will need to be clearly identified to avoid confusion and any trials must occur in green houses to guarantee the separation of the GMO plants from the indigenous plants currently growing.
The proposed bill in Uganda comes at an interesting time in the region as Tanzania has placed a complete ban on GMOs as of November 23rd. Members of the research community were surprised to learn that not only all research is to be stopped, it also was mandated that all evidence of research is to be destroyed as well. While opinions vary on the potential benefits and costs associated with GMO cultivation, the disheartening part of the Tanzanian ban is the mandate to destroy research. According to the Tanzanian Agriculture Institute (TARI), the body of government responsible for conducting field trials, yield gains up to 53% were achieved through breading a water efficient maize with the Bt insect trait. In addition to the promising results with maize, the same group was experimenting with cassava resistant to viruses and white-flies although was still in the early phase of research.