East Africa: Grain Traders Ask EAC Govts to Support Inter-Regional Business

09.08.2016

Grain traders have called on the Eastern African Community governments to support intra-regional trade in staple foods to achieve food safety in the region.

Through their umbrella organisation the East African Grain Council (EAGC), the directors while meeting in Nairobi, Kenya recently, underscored the role of trade in facilitating the movement of food commodities from surplus production areas to deficit areas.

EAGC board chairman Dr Bernard Otim (Uganda), in a communication, said: "Trade was the only sure way for the people to transact and exchange value and thereby raise the standards of living of the citizens. We call upon EAC governments to commit to supporting regional integration and facilitate trade."

The EAGC directors asked national and regional governments to institute a model of engagement with the grain stakeholders for evidence based consultative processes before any ad hoc policy decisions are enacted.

"Most of the time, private sector exporters have signed contracts to supply a commodity to buyers in another country. These restrictions can result in significant losses (both financial and reputational) and reduce the willingness of the exporters to sign such contracts in the future," the directors' communication stated.

According to the Grain Council of Uganda, the country's biggest challenge is informal traders who do not care about the quality. They also do not pay taxes leaving the formal traders to suffer.

Mr Chris Kaijuka, the chairman TGCU in an interview with Prosper magazine said: "We want the regional governments to enforce the EAC grain standards and we believe this will make informal traders formal."

He, however, said in Uganda, they have been working with government and have come up with a grain policy. With its implementation, sanity will return in the industry.

In Uganda, grain trade brings in revenue worth over $350 million (Shs1.1 trillion) annually.

Grain trade

Revenue. In Uganda grain trade brings in revenue worth more than $350 million (Shs1.1 trillion) annually.


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