Noel Namara, the manager Rwimi Warehouse defends the increment, saying the costs are meant to cater for value-added services such as cleaning, drying and security. He adds that since the warehouse guarantees to maintain the grains quality, the farmers should welcome the costs.
The high cost of storing grain under the Warehouse Receipt System-WRS in Kabarole district is keeping away some farmers. Under the Warehouse Receipt System farmers take their grains to the store for storage, where they are issued with a receipt showing the quantity and grade of their produce.
For the past three months, the two major warehouses in Kisomoro and Rwimi Sub Counties have been levying 5,000 Shillings per sack of grain stored, a fee that has angered farmers. In the past the warehouses were charging Shillings 1,000 each sack. George Musinguzi, a maize farmer in Kisomoro Sub County, says although the warehouse receipt system allows farmers who do not have proper storage facilities to deposit their harvests, he is spending much money.
Musinguzi explains that on top of paying for storage of 60 sacks, he spends 20,000 Shillings to transport his maize grain from his home to the warehouse.
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Faith Ninsiima, a rice farmer in Rwimi Sub County says warehouse managers have backtracked on an earlier agreement not to increase the storage cost. Ninsiima who stores between 50 to 60 sacks of rice says warehouses should be considerate and reduce the cost, since the produce spends much time in the warehouses as they look for market.
The high storage cost has forced some farmers to store their produce in their living rooms, which affects the quality of the grain. Vincent Mugisa, the chairperson Rwimi Maize Farmer's Association says that more than 300 maize farmers who can't afford storage costs have had their produce rejected because it is moldy and broken due to poor storage.
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However, Noel Namara, the manager Rwimi Warehouse defends the increment, saying the costs are meant to cater for value-added services such as cleaning, drying and security. He adds that since the warehouse guarantees to maintain the grain's quality, the farmers should welcome the costs.
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According to the Grain Council of Uganda, Uganda produces two million metric tonnes of maize annually, but only 550 metric tonnes are properly stored.
In 2013, the World Food Programme-WFP cancelled $6m (about sh15b) worth of contracts with Ugandan grain traders because their produce did not meet the required standards.