In Summary

When you drive around eastern Ugandan, along the main roads and towns, there are many signs of Kenyan seed companies like Simlaw advertising their locations in the country and also products.

So, quite a bit of the food exported by Uganda to Kenya is made possible by Kenyan seeds.

Our mouths and stomachs unite in very complex ways. The road is also likely to change the food business around the Endebess-Kitale-Eldoret corridor.

On Tuesday, we visited Kapchorwa, a district in eastern Uganda spanning the Mt Elgon area, which shares a border with Kenya.

In August 2018, Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto was in these parts with Uganda President Yoweri Museveni, flagging off the construction of the Kapchrowa-Suam road, which will link the two countries.

LONG-FORGOTTEN

With our Kenyan-registered car, and lots of photography stops, the locals in the area must have thought we had something to do with the road.

No, we were there partly to sniff around and get a sense of what this road, now long-forgotten by most people after last year’s flag-off, might do.

Perhaps developments there are worth a little more attention.

The Chinese are on site and there is quite some work going on and gravel being piled up. The big people spoke of this taking 36 months. Looks like it might happen.

They also said things about how the road was a “game changer” in East Africa and would bring the fruits of regional trade to the doorsteps of millions from Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan and Ethiopia.

Sounded suspiciously too grandiose.

The idea seems to come from the fact that, from the Suam border post, the road into Kenya will traverse the existing Endebess-Kitale road into the Eldoret bypass.

The Eldoret bypass involves the construction of basically a new road.

Anyway, put all that together, you have an expanded transport pipeline to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan and, somehow, Ethiopia will get a piece of it through this flow.

SELLING FOOD

It is all a little too much for us small people to understand but we could figure out a few more down-to-earth things.

The lands of Kapchorwa, Kween and Bukwo districts, through which the road passes, though being battered by environmental degradation, are still quite fertile.

They form part of a belt in Uganda that is selling food to Kenya like it is going out of fashion.

The days before the big market days in eastern Uganda are feverish, with lots of sacks of food being loaded up. On market days, the Kenyans come in droves and swoop it all up.

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