White maize is the main staple grain consumed in Tanzania, Kenya, and Ethiopia. In Uganda, white maize is grown mainly as a commercial crop for export in the region. Imported rice is a major staple for Djibouti and Somalia, which mainly consume belem—the imported red rice. Tanzania is also a major producer and source of rice in the region while Kenya and Uganda are minor producers.
Both red and white sorghum are produced and consumed in the region. This is an important staple in Sudan, Djibouti and Somalia as well as in other marginal agricultural areas of the region. It is also a substitute cereal among the rural poor. Red sorghum is mainly grown in Ethiopia, Sudan, and Somalia, and is the preferred type for households in Djibouti. Beans are an important source of protein and a complementary food crop grown in the high potential agricultural areas of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and Ethiopia. It is consumed across household types. Maize and beans are the most heavily traded commodities in the region. The cooking banana– matoke—is the primary staple in Uganda. Uganda is also a main source of cooking and other types of bananas traded in the region especially in Southern Sudan. However, bananas are not traded nearly as heavily as maize or beans.