Food Prices Bite Hard in Karamoja

1279 Views Moroto, Uganda

In short
Maize grain which is the major staple food has shot from 1800 to 2800 and from 2000 to 4000 shillings for second and first class grains. Cassava flour has jumped from 1000 to 2000 while rice goes at 5,000 from 3,500 shillings per kilogramme in December.

Food prices in Karamoja Sub-Region have continued to shoot up after a severe drought that has left the region drier. The region has not had any stable rains since July 2016.

Coupled with other factors, the food prices have progressively gone up since December 2016. Karamoja largely depends on food supplies from Sebei, Bugisu and Teso.

However, the prevailing market conditions indicate that the food prices are in hyper stage leaving consumers in a state of worry.

Maize grain which is the major staple food has shot from 1800 to 2800 and from 2000 to 4000 shillings for second and first class grains. Cassava flour has jumped from 1000 to 2000 while rice goes at 5,000 from 3,500 shillings per kilogramme in December.

Beans goes for 3000 up from 2600 while Irish potatoes has hit 3000 from 1000 shillings a kilogramme. A cluster of matooke costs 4000 from 2000 as groundnuts which is now rare in the market costs 6000 up from 2600 shillings a kilogramme. A small head of cabbage has jumped from 500 to 2000 shillings a piece.

Shaban Onyait, a resident of Kakoliye in Moroto Municipality says the increase in food prices has affected not only ordinary people but also working class as there's no increment on salaries. He notes that if the situation continues, there will be more children on the streets as families cannot provide for the them.

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Maria Angella, a resident of Nataparakwangan in Nadunget, says her family survives on residues from kwete, a locally made potent drink from maize, cassava and sorghum. "Even if food is in the market, we cannot afford it because we don't have money. We always carry firewood in exchange for this residue you're seeing," Angella says.

Robert Ojangole, the Chairperson business community in Moroto attributes the increasing food prices to drought and poor road network. He says that much of the produce goes to Karamoja through Soroti-Katakwi-Iriiri road which is not yet tarmacked.

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Abraham Edatu, a businessman in Moroto says controlling food prices requires concerted efforts from both the business community and the local authorities. He notes that the major problem affecting commodity prices in Karamoja is absence of wholesalers to stock large quantities of products. He blames the leadership through the district commercial desks for failing to issue guidelines on operations of businesses.

National meteorologists indicate that Karamoja Sub-Region will start receiving irregular rains in mid April with the peak in May.