By Prossy Nandudu
There is need for more dry ports to respond to the growing business in grain trade at the three border posts of Namanga, Busia and Hororo.
At least 100 trucks of maize cross into Kenya through the Namanga border and about 70 trucks cross into Kenya through Busia border.
Out of these, maize is the most traded commodity on all the borders, according to a report by the Eastern Africa Farmers Federation,(EAFF) that has been implementing the "Farmers' Integration into Regional Markets through Structured Trade project.
Philip Kiriro, the president of EAFF said that given the statistics, it's important that dry ports be improved to handle the large amount of cargo and increase farmer's participation in regional trade.
Launching the report, Kiriro attributed the delays to the small number of grain inspectors at the borders.
"If dry ports can be well facilitated in terms of services like more inspectors, efficient and electronic ways clearance systems and functional laboratories, this will ease the trade despite the increase volumes," said Kiriro.
He further explains that the overall objective of the project was to integrate small farmers into formal trading systems to facilitate their access to national and regional markets.
Some of the main issues that were looked at were; formation if regional networks of farmer organizations in the targeted commodities, strengthening the capacities of farmer organizations to engage in the selected value chains through various structured trade options.
Others are; advocating for the enactment of the implementation of enabling policy, trade and regulatory regimes and developing knowledge sharing mechanism for farmer organizations engaged in structured trade among others.
The project that was implemented in three countries Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda with support from USAID. It focused on rice and maize and how activities around these commodities are relevant for farmer organizations.
"To us farmer centered implies that all activities are directly relevant for farmer organizations, and the intention was to improve the engagement of farmer organizations in structured trading," said Kiriro.