Dry Spell, Poor Harvest Drive Food Prices Up

4360 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
The trading centres of Kalerwe- Bivamuntuyo, Nakulabye, Nakasero and Nakawa market which are usually covered with fresh food supplies are gradually running empty. A few stalls have a stock of fresh fruits, vegetables and other food stuffs.

A drastic drop in food supplies, resulting from a long dry spell, is pushing prices up in markets across Kampala.

This comes as a result of severe weather patterns that started with late and erratic rains, followed by abnormal dryness and a significant risk of drought, affecting the planting and harvest seasons last year.

The trading centres of Kalerwe- Bivamuntuyo, Nakulabye, Nakasero and Nakawa market which are usually covered with fresh food supplies are gradually running empty. A few stalls have a stock of fresh fruits, vegetables and other food stuffs.

Traders say food supplies from the country side are dwindling while the few that have maintained supply are costly. Andrew Sentale, a trader in Kawempe told URN that farmers are crying foul as crops wither due to lack of rainfall and excessive sunshine.

At Kalerwe market, a medium sized bunch of matooke now costs 50,000 Shillings up from 30,000 Shillings while a sack of matooke is up from 130,000 to 250,000 Shillings. A cup of fresh beans is up from 1500 to 2000 Shillings.

Madina Nanzila, a vendor at Kalerwe market said a sack of fresh beans which initially sold at 80,000 Shillings is now selling at 120,000 Shillings.
 
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Hassan Sserugo, a passion fruit vendor in Nakasero market expressed difficulty in purchasing passion fruits from farmers during this dry spell. He noted that some farmers already gave up on the fruit business while others who resorted to irrigation sell their produce at a high price.

A sack of passion fruits is bought at prices ranging between 400,000 and 450,000 Shillings compared to the rainy season when vendors bought the same between 250,000 and 300,000 Shillings.  Sserugo says that at that cost, the business is not profitable.
 
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URN also found out that a sack of oranges at Nakasero market is now bought at 150,000 Shillings compared to the 70,000 Shillings that vendors used to buy it before.  A sack of sweet potatoes is up from 80,000 to 200,000 Shillings. Currently vendors sell four pieces of sweet potatoes at 5,000 Shillings.

Harriet Namujju, a tomato and watermelon vendor at Nakawa market is equally finding business hard as supplies are drastically reducing.
 
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Deborah Nalukwago, a trader at Nakulabye market says that their sales are currently not good as few consumers can afford the cost of food supplies. She sells a piece of yam at 3000 double the price it cost a month ago. The wholesale price of yams has increased from 160,000 Shillings to 200,000 Shillings.

Adam Kiberu, an Irish Potatoes vendor at Nakulabye market shared the same experience. He however appealed to farmers to opt for better farming methods like irrigation to solve the food crisis.
 
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About the author

Olive Nakatudde
Olive Nakatudde is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Nakatudde has been a URN staff member since 2013.

Nakatudde started out in journalism in 2009 with Dembe FM radio in Kampala. In 2012, Nakatudde joined Voice of Africa as a political reporter. She has been a photographer since her journalism school days at Makerere University.

Nakatudde is interested in good governance and public policy, which she reports on intensively from the Uganda Parliament. She is a keen follower of cultural affairs in Buganda Kingdom and covers the kingdom's Lukiiko (parliament). Nakatudde also reports on education and health.