Kampala. The World Food Programme (WFP) has elevated Uganda as a global procurement hub, paving way for more than 1,000 grain farmers in the country to benefit from local procurements.
Already as part of the scheme for setting standards, the WFP has constructed more than 70 Silos across the country for post-harvest management to ensure that high standards are maintained.
Mr Elkhidir Daloum, the WFP country director, said Uganda produces grains in excess and has the capacity to supply the entire East African region and beyond.
He said over the last three years, WFP has procured more than 300,000 metric tonnes of grains locally. He said they have injected more than $100m (about Shs368 billion) into the local economy through the local purchases.
“Uganda is now one of our global procurement hubs for model modern commodity management facility. This means we can order local purchases from here and it’s not going to be a one year’s programme. This is going to be as long as Uganda can continue to produce,” he said.
“We are buying from organised groups because for example if I want to buy 20 metric tonnes I cannot be moving from one farm to another collecting small bits, I will have to buy from organised groups that can supply the whole 20 metric tonnes of high class grains at once,” he stressed.
He said working with the different government agencies, they are constructing collection points across the country so that bulking can be done.
“What we do is we work with Naads to construct supply collection centres because they help the farmers in the entire value chain up to the point of selling their products,” he said.
Mr Daloum urged the farmers to organise themselves to meet the supply requirements because the demand keeps on increasing every year. He said farmers in Karamoja have already started benefiting from the local purchases and urged farmers from other parts of the country to seize the opportunity. Already farmers in the districts of Nakaseke, Luweero, Kiboga, Kyankwanzi and Nakasongola are undergoing training to benefit from the WFP procurement.
Lt Gen Charles Angina, the Deputy Coordinator of Operation Wealth Creation, said they are equipping the farmers to add value to their produce so that they can earn more.
He said as part of the programme to promote grain production in the country, they decided that the price of a kilogramme of maize will not go below Shs500. Currently, a kilogramme of maize in open market goes for between Shs100 and Shs200.
“We agreed that we shall not buy maize for less than that value because we don’t want our farmers cheated and discouraged,” Lt Gen Angina said.