Violet Mutahi, a Kakamega retail market trader, is one of the traders from western Kenya who travels to Uganda and buys food crops for resale in Kenya. According to a report by the United Nations COMTRADE International Trade Database, Kenya’s imports from Uganda last year amounted to $ 225.14 million. The bulk of the imports were dairy products, eggs, honey and edibles like corn, beans, millet, cassava, sorghum and sweet potatoes, which amounted to $ 64.35 million.
Traders prefer to import ginger, oranges, mangoes, vegetables and peppers from Uganda for sale in Kenya, rather than buying them from Kenya where profits are meager and supply is not guaranteed.
Ms Mutahi used to source her stock of lemon and ginger from Kenya, but stopped the case because the Kenyan lemon variety – as is the case with many food products in the country – was expensive. and had a short shelf life.
Stephen Obala, president of the Busia-Kenya Business People Association, says the food consumed and sold at the Kenya border is grown in Uganda. But it’s not just Kenya that is flocking to Uganda for food. Statistics from World Integrated Trade Solutions show that India, Egypt, Thailand and Saudi Arabia are also in the game.