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Ethiopia’s grain exporters unhappy over monopolisation of maize exports

(Muluken Yewondwossen – Capital)

Grain exporters are unhappy with the government’s decision to only allow a single company to export maize to east and southern African nations. Because of the drought, last fiscal year, exporters were banned from exporting grain.

Belayneh-Kindie-Import-Export-EthiopiaThen, a recent order came from the Prime Minister’s office giving permission to Belayneh Kindie Import and Export plc to export maize to COMESA members. For the past three months the company has been exporting maize while others have been left in the dust.

Ethiopian exporters who were banned from exporting grain are expressing concern to the government because they feel they are being neglected while a single company is solely permitted to export the product. Sources said that the exporters have taken the issue to the Prime Minister’s Office and the Minister of Trade.

Uganda and Tanzania are major consumers of maize, which is staple diet for south eastern and eastern African countries.

However the drought significantly reduced their production so they began importing it. However, now forecasts indicate that production will improve in Uganda and Tanzania and they could even start exporting the product.

In addition to maize, Ethiopia banned sorghum exports last year and did not lift that until recently According to a source the government realized that there was an overproduction of maize. As a result it allowed one company to export maize from the farm it owns and from other commercial farms.

The Agricultural Transformation Agency said that the country has produced about four million metric tons of maize, with some surplus.

Recently after the Regional Grain Trade Facilitation Forum which was held in Addis Ababa, the Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC) announced that trade deals in terms of 51 contracts amounting to 275,000 metric tons estimated at USD 55 million were signed at the Ethiopian capital to export grains (maize and pulses) from Ethiopia to eastern and southern Africa.

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