KENYA – The Ministry of trade has made a deal with Uganda to supply 6.6 million bags of maize flour as the country records a food deficit amid efforts to reverse the situation.

Kenya will pay US$20 for each bag of maize flour to the Grain Council of Uganda, set to deliver the cargo at the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) depots.

“The deal is between Grain Council of Uganda and the Cereal Millers Association and was brokered by the Ministry of Industrialisation, our role was to bring together the two bodies by acting as the intermediary party,” said NCPB managing director Newton Terer.

This is a reprieve for local millers who will have access to 600,000 tonnes of maize at US$225 per tonne reducing maize flour deficit experienced in the country following a persistent drought season last year.

The Ministry of Agriculture reported that the dry spell experienced in most of agricultural rich counties suggested a looming shortage of maize production, which was projected to decline by 20%.

The decline pointed to a food crisis that saw maize flour prices rise after the government ended the US$59.16 million subsidy on maize imports.

Maize yields in Kenya have been threatened by pest infestations compounded by an unanticipated dry spell pushing the cost of maize and other products, driving up inflation to as high as 10%.

The Kenyan economy has faced turbulent times ranging from political stand offs to increase in prices of basic commodities such as maize flour, milk and sugar.

All these factors have made Kenya become a maize-deficit nation, relying on imports mainly from Uganda and Tanzania.

Maize imports from Uganda to Kenya grew 78 per cent in January compared with December 2017, as traders rushed to cash in on good price following a shortage of grain lifted the trade, according to Business Daily report.