Uganda Identifies Corn as One of 3 Core Agribusiness Areas


Apr 19, 2023 | Agricultural Markets News

Reading time: 2 minutes

The Uganda CPSD (Country Private Sector Diagnostic) 2022 report identifies Corn as one of 3 core agribusiness priority areas, including dairy and fish. The report shows Corn as an efficient use of domestic resources, which can be competitive when comparing production costs to parity prices for non-GM Corn. It suggests it is a viable sector for private investments. An estimated 3.6 m MTs of Corn were produced in 2019, with 59% (2.1 m MT) (FAOSTAT 2019) going to subsistence food supply and 24% (843,564 MT) used for commerce (COMTRADE 2019). Of the quantity used for commerce, about 34% (285,564 MT) is formally exported mostly (67%) as raw grain – a testament to UG comparative advantage (FAOSTAT 2019; COMTRADE 2019).

A significant volume of Corn is exported informally. 95% of Corn exports supply the region, with Kenya being the largest buyer. IFC MAS’s IO in Uganda identified low-quality Corn as restrictive to potential investment in the sector, access to markets, and development of higher value-added production in a regional market with high Corn demand. This view is supported by the UGCPSD (2022), which reviewed agribusiness (and Corn) as a sector of investment potential and identified non-compliance with EAC Corn quality standards, legal and regulatory challenges, logistic and cross-border bottlenecks and low productivity as essential constraints. Two critical points in the value chain impact Corn quality requiring improvement: post-harvest handling practices and market regulation. Post-harvest handling is being addressed through other initiatives; this work will focus on market-related problems.

Corn Industry Challenges in Uganda

Ugandan corn stakeholders indicated the following challenges at the district level:

  • While Mubende District is one of the top 3 Corn producers, over 75% of Corn produced/traded here is low quality. The District enacted an Ordinance for Corn processing and trade, but it has not been enforced. At the same time, Mubende district expects to develop bylaws for Corn quality monitoring and enforcement in line with existing laws and Standards.
  • Enforcement of standards at the district level (e.g., Mubende) stores is missing or poorly coordinated (especially between UNBS and MAAIF), yet this is where Corn enters the commercial value chain. In contrast, the coffee and dairy sectors have strong quality oversight and enforcement systems.
  • Traders and aggregators sell Corn to district stores, where it is further aggregated and sold to millers or exported. Districts issue Trading Licenses to collect revenue from these stores. There is no penalty for trading poor-quality Corn. There is no penalty for non-compliance with standards.
  • While the Grain Council is represented at the District level, it plays no role in self-regulation or policy dialogue.
  • Upstream stakeholders do not have clear access to information on Corn quality standards, including requirements, enforcement, and penalties. This project seeks to address these issues through a pilot initiative in one leading Corn-producing district in UG. With lessons learned, expansion may be considered.
  • Enforcement staff at the district level require technical guidance on using limited resources to target high-risk high impact traders during enforcement.

So, the World Bank has to select an international consulting firm to address the challenges mentioned above, and the firm’s key assignments are as follows: 

  • Support UNBS in developing a Corn Quality Standards Monitoring and Enforcement Framework and Inspections Checklist for monitoring and enforcing Corn grain standards at the district level. It is expected that this framework will incorporate compliance components (e.g., awareness raising, information dissemination, training), developing a baseline checklist for monitoring and enforcement of compliance with standards, maintaining records on compliance and enforcement, and an action plan for implementation, among others.
  • Support piloting the monitoring and enforcement framework with inspections checklist both at the district level in Mubende and with members of TGCU, including training on usage and awareness raising. This will relieve pressure on UNBS, who are resource constrained to inspect Corn grain.

Other sources: WBGE CONSULT 2

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