Masindi district council has resolved to petition parliament over low Maize price in district.
The resolution was reached on yesterday during the extraordinary council seating at Masindi district chambers.
The motion to petition parliament was tabled by Pakanyi Sub County councilor also secretary finance, Kanaginagi Ateenyi and seconded by Central division councilor Badru Mugabai.
Kanaginagi told the August house that maize farmers in the district are stranded with their maize following the drastic price fluctuation of Maize across the country.
Kanaginagi told councilors that, initially the price of maize per Kilogram was at 700/= noting that to his surprise after massive harvest by farmers the price dropped to 200/= per Kilogram which in turn impact huge losses on the farmers.
He described the situation as a catastrophe which needs immediate intervention by the law makers.
Kanaginagi’s motion was unanimously supported by the visibly excited councilors who said petitioning the parliament could bring the everlasting solution to the ongoing Maize price scourge.
A committee of over five district officials headed by the district deputy speaker Marry Mujumura was formed to spearhead the drafting and the delivery of the petition to the Speaker of Parliament.
Low maize prices worry MPs
Members of Parliament are worried about the low maize prices in the country and have tasked government to explain the reasons behind the price stagnation.
Hon Pentagon Kamusiime (NRM, Butemba County) told Parliament that his constituents are concerned of the impending poverty because of the sustained poor prices of maize.
“I come from an agricultural area where we largely depend on crops and animals but now a kilogram of maize goes for shs200; the people I represent are being pushed into poverty,” said Kamusiime.
Kamusiime explained that markets that used to consume maize from his constituency such as Tanzania, Congo, South Sudan and Rwanda were closed, adding that the available markets in Kenya and Somalia cannot consume much of their produce.
He wondered why government through NAADS gives out seeds to farmers but cannot protect farmers from price fluctuations.
Hon Gaffa Mbwatekamwa (NRM, Kasambya County) decried the situation in Mubende district saying “currently in Mubende, one has to sell 50kg of maize to buy one kilogram of meat”. He asked government to come up with a price stabilization fund as it used to be done in the past.
Hon Wamanga Wamai (FDC, Mbale Munic.) urged government to re-introduce silos and regional stores where produce is stored until prices are stable.
“It is prudent that we think about silos and regional stores so that at such a time, government could buy maize from farmers at good prices, store them and later distribute them in times of need,” said Wamanga warning that whereas maize is currently in excess supply, hunger would soon be unavoidable.
Gov’t to buy 500,000 metric tonnes of maize
Government is to buy 500,000 metric tonnes of maize from farmers at a minimum price of shs500 to address the low prices currently on the market. This follows concerns raised by Members of Parliament over the falling maize prices in the country.
In a joint statement to the House sitting on Tuesday,31 July, 2018, the Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Hon. Amelia Kyambadde and the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Hon. Vincent Ssempijja said government will provide a budget through the Agriculture Credit Fund to the Grain Council to buy 500,000 metric tonnes of maize.
Ssempijja justified government’s decision saying that the Council buys 70 per cent of the maize while individuals buy 30 per cent.
He said the Grain Council has modern storage facilities across the country including dryers, sorters and cleaners.
“The Uganda Grain Council needs shs300 billion to evacuate 500,000 metric tonnes of maize and that is the money we are mobilising,” said Ssempijja.
“We have gone through the technical evaluation of producing maize and the highest cost of production is shs400,” Ssempijja explained.
Kyambadde said that a report will be presented to Parliament next week on the modalities of implementation of funding to the Grain Council.
She also listed other government interventions towards addressing the falling maize prices including; operationalisation of structured trading mechanisms, provision of standardised storage facilities at household, community and regional levels as well as implementation of the National Grain Trade Policy and its strategy.