The maize deal signed between Kenya and Uganda has yielded no import, with Kenyan grain buyers arguing that Kampala has no capacity to supply the agreed quantities, the Daily Nation reports.
This puts Kenya’s Ministry of Trade on the spot over the deal signed almost two months ago that would have seen Uganda export 6.6 million bags of maize into East Africa’s largest economy.
It was inked between the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) and the Uganda Grain Council and facilitated by the Ministry of Trade on behalf of Kenyan millers.
Kenya was supposed to buy the maize at KSh2, 050 (UShs75,794) per bag to plug a deficit that had triggered a rise in flour prices.
Millers have confirmed they have not received any consignment from the land-locked neighbouring country.
“I am not aware of any maize having been delivered to NCPB,” said Nick Hutchinson, chairman Cereal Millers Association and Unga Holdings chief executive.
Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC) said its survey indicated that there was no significant grain to import to Kenya under the government deal.
“EAGC assessment in February showed there was not much maize in Uganda to be imported to Kenya and that the little that was there had been committed to other parties,” said Gerald Masila, executive director.
Mr Masila added a lot of maize had been sold to traders in February under business-to-business arrangement between Kenyan traders and their Ugandan counterparts.
The multibillion-shilling deal would have seen local millers pay Uganda Grain Council for delivery of cargo facilitated by the NCPB.
EAGC argued that the prices given by Uganda are unrealistic as the current cost of a 90 kilo bag is between Sh2,300 (UShs85,037) and Sh2,400 (UShs 88,734).
Our attempts to get comments from Trade secretary Adan Mohamed were unsuccessful despite several attempts to reach him on phone.
Kenyan millers have also been complaining over the years that the standard of maize from Uganda does not meet the milling quality as most of it is contaminated by aflatoxin.
Maze deficit last year increased the cost of the two-kg packet of flour to a high of Sh153. This prompted the Sh6 billion subsidy on imports to help lower the cost, which had shot up due to drought and poor planning.