The United Nations World Food Programme will spend 40 percent more buying food in Uganda this year, according to Stanlake Samkange, WFP Uganda country director. Samkange told Reuters that by end of May, WFP would have purchased almost $25 million worth of food commodities in Uganda. WFP is taking advantage of the low prices to shore up its food reserves. Uganda harvested a bumper maize crop during late 2009 and the first quarter 2010, flooding markets and triggering a plunge in prices. This year, the Ugandan government said the country's 2009 maize output was estimated at between 1.6 million and 1.8 million tonnes from 1.26 million tonnes in 2008. Last year, WFP bought 120,000 tonnes maize and beans in Uganda, and it aims to increase its annual local food purchases to $100 million by 2011. The U.N. food agency provided food to 2 million Ugandans last year, much of it imported, as two decades of civil war in parts of the country combined with droughts, to affect harvests. Samkange said WFP has been paying an estimated $210 for a tonne of maize in 2010, from last year's average of $380. WFP prices are usually slightly higher than the prevailing market rates, as it seeks to improve farmers' living conditions. Uganda has only seven certified warehouses with a storage capacity of an estimated 30,000 metric tonnes per year, according to the Uganda Commodities Exchange (UCE).