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A Ban on Grain Hits Africa’s Small Farmers Hard

Ghana and Uganda are among several African countries banning the export of grains and other farm produce, with the latter imposing high taxes to prevent food exports to neighboring countries. The Ghanaian government has extended a ban on grain exports. A temporary ban on exporting maize, rice, soybeans, and other grains — which took effect in September last year — will now run until September 2022. The original ban was put in place to ensure food security and increase local poultry and livestock production. The extension of the ban comes as grain prices soar, partly because of Russia’s war on Ukraine. But some farmers are unhappy with the extended ban, saying they would get better prices if they could sell their crops outside of Ghana. So, they want the government to lift it. In a recent address to the nation, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said his government would not intervene amid an outcry from food exporters and the rising cost of living. Museveni said that “government subsidies or removing taxes would collapse the economy.” But economist Julius Mukunda disagreed with Museveni, attributing the high costs for commodities to the Russian-Ukrainian war and not intervening. Instead, Mukunda said, “the government should instead give incentives to business owners to boost their trade.