By Patrick Jaramogi
KAMPALA - The Minister of Trade and Cooperatives, Amelia Kyambadde, has hailed the revitalization of the Uganda National Commodity Exchange (UNCE).
“I’m glad that UNCE has been put place and will work hand-in-hand with the warehouse receipt system to license and monitor our warehouses. This has been long overdue,” she said.
Addressing grain farmers and stakeholder at the revitalization workshop held at Hotel Africana, the minister said she is optimistic about the timing of the revival of the UNCE.
“You know that the grain industry has been in existence, but almost informally, with everybody dealing in grain or owning a maize mill, without any regulations.
“Our neighbours are walking in and out buying our commodities without any structure,” said Kyambadde.
Grain traders and owners of major warehouses overwhelmingly welcomed the revitalized commodity exchange as a tool that will help reduce post-harvest losses of grains and boost national and regional trade.
Minister Kyambadde and the Uganda Grain Council chairman Chris Kaijuka at the meeting. (Credit: Patrick Jaramogi)
The Uganda National Commodity Exchange has been incorporated as the new body responsible for structured trading of grains in the country. It replaces the now-defunct Uganda Commodity Exchange, which had been grappling with an array of operational setbacks and a low capital base since inception in 1998.
Between 30%-40% of grain produced annually is said to be lost due to lack of standardized storage infrastructure and poor, undeveloped and unstructured marketing systems.
According to Wilfred Thembo-Mwesigwa, the executive director of the Grain Council of Uganda, the members have submitted 156,000 of the 550,000 metric tonnes available as initial good storage-capacity to kickstart the warehouse receipt system and the commodity exchange, slated for early September.
Deborah Kyarisiime, the acting executive director of the Uganda Warehouse Receipt System Authority, confirmed this.
“Thirty grain traders have been pre-inspected for licensing, and formal applications will be submitted to UWRSA soon for licensing and operation as public warehouses.”
Unlike its predecessor, which was fully owned by government, UNCE is mainly private-sector owned, with government retaining only 20% of shareholding through the Uganda Development Corporation.
Grain traders embrace new commodity exchange body