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White Maize was introduced in the region of East African Community (EAC) around 60 years ago and has been identified as a priority stable crop by governments within the region and beyond. In Rwanda particularly in the context of National Crop Intensification Programme, maize was given priority for agriculture production in different districts such as Kayonza, Gicumbi, Nyagatare, Gisagara, Nyaruguru, Musanze, Rutsiro, Ngoma and Gatsibo.

There are fundamental reasons of selecting maize as major selling products at EAX:

  • Maize producers and traders can store their productions for a period of up to 9 months, therefore improve their selling strategies.
  • Maize is considered the primary crop for national strategic grain reserve among EAC region.
  • Maize plays an important role in food security and contributes to poverty reduction. Millers and food processors are increasingly looking at maize for food processing activities.
  • Maize is used in the production of animal, poultry and fish feed.
  • Maize production can be competitive in imports/export business.
  • It is a good crop for fighting hunger as it is easier to store.

EAX strategy is to sell highest quality of maize within the region. EAX maize is stored, graded, cleaned, re-bagged or packaged in accordance to EAC standards. Maize that EAX warehouses management allow to receive should have the moisture content of at least 13%. Maize is then serviced with high quality fumigation technics to keep it free from weavers, insects or any other foreign matter. Traded maize commodity standard for EAX maize is White Maize (WM) grouped into 4 different grading standards:

  • WM1 : White Maize Grade 1
  • WM2 : White Maize Grade 2
  • WM3 : White Maize Grade 3
  • WM4 : White Maize Grade 4

East Africa Exchange Grading Standards for Maize

Basis moisture content 13% 13% 13% 13%
Insect damage 1% 3% 5% 7%
Rotten, Diseased & Discoloured 2% 4% 5% 7%
Foreign matter (include earth, sand and stones) 0.5% 1% 1.5% 3%
Live infestation None None None None
Broken grain 2% 4% 6% 10%
Immature/Shrivelled grain 1% 2% 3% 5%
Total Defective Grains 4% 5% 7% 15%
  • An adjustment of 3.5% is made to the weight of the grain on deposit to make provision for losses during the handling and storage process.
  • An adjustment is made to the weight based on the basis moisture of 13%, if the moisture content is above 13%. (See contract specifications for max moisture allowed on intake)
  • Maize must be free from foreign odours, glass, coal, dung or metal.
  • Max of 3 crotalaria seeds in 100 g
  • Max of 2 castor beans (Ricinus communis) in 100 g
  • Max of 8 cockieburs (Xanthium spp) in 100 g
  • White maize = min of 98% white kernels
  • Yellow maize = min of 95% yellow kernels
  • Total Defective Grains include the sum of pest damage, immature/shrivelled and rotten disease & discoloured grains.
  • The sampling and grading is being done using a work sample of at least 200 gram and applying the EAX grading, sampling and weighing protocol.

Maize Definitions

Maize The shelled grains of Zea mays.
Moisture Content The moisture content, expressed on a wet weight bases, as determined by using a moisture meter with a repeatability of +-0.3 as indicated by the supplier.
Foreign matter All organic and inorganic material (sand, stones and soil) other than maize, other grains, dung, metal, glass and coal including any plant matter of maize that is not kernels.
Broken kernel Pieces of maize which shall pass through a 4.50 mm round whole metal sieve.
Pest damaged grains Kernels with obvious weevil bored holes or which have evidence of boring or tunneling, indicating the presence of insects, insect webbing or insect refuse, or degermed grains, chewed in one or more than one part of the kernel which exhibit evident of an attack by vermin
Rotten, diseased & discolored It included grains made unsafe for human consumption due to decay, moulding, or bacterial decomposition, or other causes that may be noticed without having to cut the grains to examine them. It also included kernels materially discolored by excessive heat, including that caused by excessive respiration and dried damage kernels. Kernels may appear darkened, wrinkled, blistered, puffed or swollen often with discolored damaged germs. The seed may be peeling or may peel off completely, giving kernels a checked appearance.
Immature/Shriveled Maize grains which are underdeveloped, thin and papery in appearance.
Other grains Grains, whole or broken, other than maize.
Toxic seeds
  • Crotalaria seeds,
  • castor beans (Ricinus communis
  • Cookie burs (Xanthium)
Objectionable Odor Unpleasant smell that is caused by weathering, chemical contamination, mold infection, disease or damage caused by insect
Good Natural Color The natural appearance of the grain, which is pure and has not been affected by natural or man-made factors.