Following Kenya’s decision to ban Ugandan Maize yet both countries are under EAC block, trade and food advocates in Uganda led by SEATINI are calling for the strengthening of regional integration institutions so as to address trade disputes between member countries.
Addressing a joint news conference in Kampala, Jane Nalunga the executive director SEATINI Uganda together with Food rights alliance executive director, Agnes Kirabo, sights the need to for consultations involving concerned states and the relevant organs of EAC with a view of arriving at an amicable solution in the spirit of regional integration.
Nalunga further mentions other heated up situations among them Rwanda-Uganda border closure which has lasted for over two years now saying such drastic measure are not promoting the regional integration spirit hence the need to have the regional institution to always take full control of such matters before member states take moves.
Meanwhile, George Kilabira a maize farmer from Nakaseke district attributes the current maize ban to failure by the Uganda government to fully support the agriculture sector and farmers in particular adding that the country is likely to face a serious food crisis if the farmers continue to be neglected.
Wearing a miserable face, Kilabira says, the current maize ban by Kenya has led to a drastic fall in maize prices at farm gate with a kilo now going for UGX.300 way from the previous UGX.800 and above.
Several studies conducted in Uganda have established the vulnerability of Uganda’s maize to aflatoxins contamination. For instance in 2014, a study by African Union together with the school of food science and technology, nutrition and bio systems engineering at Makerere university established that 20% of the maize samples collected from major maize growing regions in the country had aflatoxins above the recommended limit of 10 parts per billion.
This is in tandem with the findings of another study conducted by other researchers from Makerere university and the university of Georgia in five major markets around Kampala(St. Balikuddembe-Owino, Nakasero, Nateete, Kalerwe and Nakawa).