OMORO – The current lack of market for maize in the country could soon be history after the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced that it will buy 200,000 metric tonnes of maize grain locally this year to feed refugees.
Speaking at the commissioning of a WFP warehouse in Koro Sub-county, Omoro District on Friday, WFP Country Director El Khidir Daloum said the move is aimed at boosting the country’s agricultural sector.
“WFP works for the people of Uganda and the government as well. The presence of WFP here should also be to support the local economy, we are hoping to procure 200,000 metric tonnes of grains this year from Uganda,” he said.
Mr Daloum said WFP has been increasing local purchase of grain from the country since 2016 when they procured only 126,000 tonnes from local suppliers.
He said that in 2017, they purchased 140,000 metric tonnes and saw an increment of 155,000 tonnes procured in 2018 in which WFP injected US$ 55 million into the economy.
Mr Daloum, however, challenged the local farmers in the region on quality production of crops citing that WFP purchased 98 metric tonnes of grade one quality maize from Karamoja region last year.
“The farmers here can do better compared to Karamoja since they are a farming community, we encourage farmers to form associations and put more efforts in ensuring that they reduce losses from harvest. Many farmers here lose 40 percent of their crops due to poor post-harvest handling,”
Omoro District Chairperson Douglas Peter Okello lauded WFP for considering his district as the hub for the storage of relief food that will help refugees.
The warehouse with a capacity of 50,000 metric tons of grains is one of the biggest in the region and will be used to store relief food destined for refugees in volatile South Sudan. It currently has a total of 9,000 tonnes of maize and sorghum supplied from within Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda.