East Africa Cross Border Trade Bulletin (April 2017, Volume 17)
Maize grain was the most informally traded commodity in Eastern Africa in the first quarter of 2017 accounting for 33 percent of total trade, but volumes traded in the region were lower when compared to 2013-2016 average due to tight supplies following below average harvests across most countries.
Locally produced rice displaced dry beans as the second most traded commodity in the region as Tanzania traders continued to move away from mixing Asian and Tanzania’s rice, which had attracted higher East Africa Community external tariff.
Trade in dry beans declined in the first quarter as most supplies tightened early following below average harvests in main producing Uganda.
Re-exports of sugar, wheat and wheat flour in the region were mixed, increasing in eastern Kenya due to high prices of substitute commodities, and declining in eastern Ethiopia due to intensive food assistance that reduced demand.
Sesame seeds, which are mostly exported from Ethiopia to Sudan, continued to increase seasonably in the first quarter of 2017 as supply from the October-to-January harvest in Ethiopia continued to enter the market.
Livestock trade in the region was mixed with exports from Ethiopia to Somalia declining because of poor animal body conditions, but exports from Somalia to Kenya increasing unseasonably because of rapid destocking following expectations of poor forthcoming April-to-July rains.