East African grain farmers have for long failed to penetrate the European and US markets due to poor quality grain coupled with issues of aflatoxins.
Meanwhile, the region’s increasingly unpredictable weather patterns have contributed to low quantities of major grains produced in East Africa, leading to growth in grain trading, especially among Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda, that is at times constrained by the inadequate or lack of good road and rail networks to link farmers to markets.
Although the East Africa countries produce varied quantities of the major grains, production of wheat and rice has been below national targets and the two commodities remain atop the grain imports list for Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda.
To ease the challenges of transportation and support availability of quality grains for milling, governments in East Africa have launched interventions to facilitate trade in grains and grain byproducts by constructing storage, drying and processing facilities along with improving transport networks to access them.
In Rwanda, the government recently unveiled a program to construct modern post-harvest facilities and strategic grain reserves across the country alongside investing $24 million in feeder roads that farmers rely on to reach grain delivery points, it said.
A similar initiative was announced in Uganda in June 2019 with the government approving development of storage facilities and linking farmers to agro-processing facilities to support agro-industrialization.