Uganda-Cuba Maize Deal Signals Promising Trade Prospects

Salvador Valdes Mesa, Cuban Vice President
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The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives has announced that the Cuban government has expressed interest in purchasing a significant quantity of maize from Uganda, with an initial order of at least 100,000 metric tonnes annually. This development emerged during the recent Non-Alignment Movement (NAM) and G77 plus China (G77+China) summits, where Cuba presented a list of food items they require, highlighting maize as a priority.

Ms. Geraldine Ssali, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, disclosed that Cuba has also offered logistical support for the transportation of maize, potentially through maritime routes via Mombasa or Dar es Salaam. This initiative signifies a promising avenue for Uganda to expand its export market and strengthen bilateral trade relations with Cuba.

Additionally, the launch of the Industry Self-Regulation Scheme for Uganda’s grain sector aims to enhance compliance with international standards, particularly in light of challenges related to phytosanitary standards. Ms. Ssali emphasized the importance of industry self-regulation in ensuring the quality and safety of exported food products, citing the significant impact of compliance on market access.

The Grain Council of Uganda has played a pivotal role in developing guidelines for industry self-regulation, focusing on addressing quality issues within the grain sector. Mr. Robert Mwanje, the council’s chairman, highlighted the need for stringent quality control measures to mitigate losses attributed to aflatoxins and other contaminants, which have previously hindered Uganda’s maize exports to neighboring markets.

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Ms. Carolyne Nankinga, Assistant Commissioner for Phytosanitary and Anti-Quarantine, emphasized the importance of industry collaboration in adhering to established standards, underscoring the critical role of self-regulation in ensuring product quality across the value chain.

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