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Maize Cobs on Plant Stems
Maize (Zea mays L) is one of the world’s important cereal crops. In East Africa, the crop is a major staple food for a large proportion of the population, in addition to being an important animal feed.
The importance of maize is centered on the large quantity of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and fats, contained in the kernels,making it compare favourably as an energy source with root and tuber crops. In Uganda, an average of 1.5 tonnes of maize per hectare is produced.
Most of this maize, in addition to being eaten directly as food, supports the local brewery industry, where flour is fermented to produce many local brews.
Maize is eaten on cobs, which are either cooked or roasted. Maize flour is also used to prepare a local paste called posho, demand for which is on the increase. Posho is now increasingly served in hotels and restaurants in several urban centres including Kampala City.
Maize flour is also used in making porridge for breakfast in many homes in urban areas while the maize itself is used in the manufacture of feeds for livestock. Maize is also a good source of starch and oil.
Maize comprises a significant part of the diet of many of the region’s inhabitants. Per capita total maize consumption ranges from 28 kilogrammes a year in Uganda to 125 kilogrammes a year in Kenya. However, the yields remain low, fluctuating around 1.5 tonnes per hectare.
Maize was mostly used as a food crop for domestic consumption but after 1981 the Government began to promote it as an export crop in an effort to diversify Uganda’s sources of foreign exchange.
About one percent of the total maize produced in Uganda is consumed by the household on the farm and the rest of the crop is sold. This means that maize is now produced mainly for sale. Most maize in Uganda is procured by the WFP for its aid
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