Kampala has called a crisis meeting over the deadlock between Uganda and Kenya, which saw Nairobi ban maize imports from the country.
In an interview with the Daily Monitor on Tuesday, Mr Julius Maganda, the State minister for the East African Community (EAC) Affairs, said Uganda’s ministers of Trade, Agriculture, East African Community Affairs and Finance are scheduled to hold a meeting Wednesday to come up with a common stand regarding the ban, ahead of another meeting with their Kenyan counterparts slated for March 11.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Ms Amelia Kyambadde, also confirmed the meeting scheduled for Wednesday but declined to divulge more details, as she was “still consulting”.
According to the Agriculture and Food Authority (AFA) in Kenya, Ugandan maize was found to contain mycotoxins, particularly aflatoxins and fumonisins, which can cause cancer.
The maize ban comes at a time when Uganda is grappling with the economic impact of the Covid-19 restrictions.
Ugandan farmers and maize dealers fear that the ban could push grain prices lower.
The ban on maize could also see Uganda lose an average of $121 million (Ush447 billion) in annual revenue, according to data obtained from Bank of Uganda.
At the Busia border, traders are stranded with more than 100 trucks loaded with maize grain.
Mr Paul Mwongo, a Kenyan transporter, said: “I loaded more than 20 tonnes of maize from Kampala destined for Mombasa but when I reached Malaba border, I was stopped by the Kenyan authorities. The owner of the maize advised me to change the route to Busia but still I have been denied entry.”
Mr Frank Kasumba, the manager of Busia market, told the Daily Monitor on Tuesday that the ban was already taking a huge toll on traders, transporters and farmers.
He said 150 trucks each loaded with more than nine tonnes of maize cross the border to Kenya daily.