As Kenya is expected to experience a bumper harvest, maize prices are feared to drop significantly across the region.
Uganda which has also a growing local demand for its sorghum and new market in South Sudan will export less to Rwanda therefore pushing prices higher for this grain.
Rwandan grain farmers may need to increase their crop yields to sustain the wide local market and cut down on imports from neighbouring countries especially Uganda and Tanzania.
For example Rwanda imports the largest consignment of sorghum from Uganda and rice from Tanzania- this implies that local farmers can tap into this gap and make more money.
However, the latest cross-border trade indicates that volumes of sorghum traded in the region for the past three months dropped because of increased local demand in Uganda- the main producing country.
Sorghum in Rwanda is mainly used in fortified foods especially flour and local brew widely consumed since pre-colonial times.
South Sudan, Kenya, Rwanda and Eritrea are the main consumers of sorghum from Uganda.
Demand for Maize
According to cross border statistics between March and June maize export from the region dropped compared to the period between January and March.
Kenya imported a total of 59,545 tons of maize from Uganda (March-June) compared to 87,282 tons (January – March).
Tanzania shipped 49,421 tons to Kenya in the second quarter compared to 76,723 tons in the previous period.
Modest carryover stocks from past year in some countries, increased harvest and currency depreciation are responsible for the drop in trade volumes.
Analysts predict that maize yield in Kenya will to hit a five-year high due to favourable rainfall, especially in maize producing areas in Rift Valley and some southwestern and eastern agricultural areas.
Maize prices are expected to decline in Rwanda and Kenya compared to the same period last year due to better production.
Uganda which is in middle of its maize harvest of the year will have lower prices- the price will drop from $120 a ton in August to $100 in January.
Meanwhile, maize price in Rwanda is expected to reach $250 a ton.
Observers say that maize prices are expected to oscillate between $280 and $300 a ton in Kenya from August to March next year.
In South Sudan, maize prices will jump so high to $550 a ton, mainly due to high transport costs caused by high fuel prices.