- Published on 26 January 2017
Ugandan businessmen have now found lucrative maize market in Tanzania, thanks to the food shortage that has hit several parts of the country.
A comprehensive survey conducted by the Foundation for Civil Society (FCS) at Mutukula border between Tanzania and Uganda and Bukoba Municipality over the weekend has established beyond reasonable doubt that maize dealers are now reaping huge profits from the business.
Uganda businessman, Edger Kizito, told FCS that maize dealers from Uganda side, mainly from areas of Rakai, Chotera, Mbarara and Murongo are now enjoying doing business with traders from Tanzania side simply because the market is reliable.
“What we do is that we communicate with Tanzanian traders on the amount of tons of maize they need before we transport the produce from our stores to Mutukula border,” Kizito said while refusing to divulge names of Tanzania traders whom he trades with.
According to Kizito, the mode of business is carried out per kilogramme, insisting that a kilogramme of maize at Mutukula border was trading at between TSh 720 and 850.
The Foundation or Civil Society (FCS) witnessed lorries from Uganda offloading tons of maize at the border while trucks from Tanzania side loaded the produce, transporting it to other regions. At the border it was difficult to spot Tanzanian traders from whom we could extract information besides casual laborers and drivers.
A woman who neither refused to mention her name nor be photographed but runs a milling station called ‘Muganyizi Millers’ in Bukoba Manicipality said maize has now become a ‘golden commodity’.
“We buy maize at Mutukula border at TSh820 per kilogramme and sell the same kilogramme at Sh 1,000 here in the Municipality. When the same kilogramme of maize is milled we sell the flour at between Tsh 1,100 and TSh 1,200 she said while looking nervous.
According to her, consignments of maize purchased by traders at Mutukula border were transported as far as Shinyanga, Dodoma, Mwanza, Singida and Mara regions.
Meanwhile, the Foundation for Civil Society has established that textile business between Uganda and Tanzania through Mutukula border has substantially declined due to what traders described as stringent taxation measures.
A small trader who identified himself by a single name as Shafii told FCS that most textile traders have ceased to import their goods from Uganda after some of their colleagues underwent stringent taxation procedures at Mutukula border in the previous days.
A woman in Bukoba Municipality who runs the Baby cloth shop christened ‘Aivan Shop’ but preferred anonymity said she found it easier to buy her merchandise from either Dar es Salaam or Mwanza rather that Uganda due to taxation hassles.
“Bus passengers crossing to Tanzania from Uganda are thoroughly inspected including their luggage, one after the other. Their nationality is also scrutinized,” she said.
This reporter’s bag was searched by custom’s officials at Mutukula border as he was returning from Uganda side where he had crossed to, obviously in search for commodities they thought were purchased on Uganda side of the border.