By Prossy Nandudu
Traders are losing 40% of what they would earn in international trade due to poor storage of produce, the Grain Council of Uganda has said.
Wilfred Tembo, the council executive director, said Uganda produces two million metric tonnes of maize annually, but only 550 metric tonnes are properly stored.
Tembo was speaking at the grain traders meeting at Hotel Africana last week. They were discussing ways of improving post-harvest handling practices to minimise loss.
Last year, the World Food Programme cancelled $6m (about sh15b) worth of contracts with Ugandan grain traders because their produce did not meet the required standards.
Thembo said the recommended storage facilities are the big stores such as those used by cooperative unions to store coffee and cotton.
“Despite the availability of such facilities, there is no mechanism where owners can work with smallholder farmers to store their grain at a cost,” said Thembo.
“The storage facilities that should be storing grain such as maize are now keeping coffee, cotton and timber.”
He said the grain council will sensitise farmers on the value of using storage facilities and on how to build traditional facilities such as granaries.
“We shall teach farmers how to use the structures and the warehouse receipt system that is promoted,” Thembo said.