A few months after a bumper harvest crashed Uganda’s Maize price, a Maize scarcity has hit Busia produce market rendering traders under Busia produce dealers multi-purpose cooperative society limited unemployed. The maize price has increased to UGX 700 per kilogram from UGX 250 but the traders cannot meet demand.
The traders fear this crisis might drag on into the next harvesting season saying they are headed for hard times as schools open.
Mr. Abubakali Magemeso the general secretary Busia Produce Dealers Multi-purpose Cooperative Society said most maize stores have closed down and traders.
” Traders leave their homes every morning and come here hoping to receive maize but at the end of the day they get nothing,” he said.
On average Busia produce market has been receiving about two thousand tons of maize daily and selling about 70% of it to Kenya, Rwanda, and Southern Sudan.
The traders that the Cooperator talked to attributed the scarcity to the drought that killed the maize planted late last year and the fall in prices which demoralized farmers.
Mr. James Wandera a maize trader says, they once in while receive a few trucks from Mubende and Mbarara which he said are still the leading suppliers. He noted Busoga, Bugisu and Kapchorwa and other districts in northern Uganda that have been supplying them, were equally hit by drought.
Busia’s produce market is the leading employer in the district, providing jobs to both Ugandans and Kenyans.
The market thrives mainly on maize which brings in lots of money but currently, the traders are surviving by selling beans mainly from Rwanda.
Asked whether they stocked some maize during the previous bumper harvests, the cooperative leadership said it lacks storage facilities and had anticipated that more maize would be produced in 2018, and therefore didn’t stock.