Produce Dealers Stock up in Anticipation of Food Shortage

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In short
However, traders like Noah Ssempa and Boaz Asiimwe expect to make 500 shillings more by selling the same quantity at 1300 shillings once the commodity is in short supply.

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Produce dealers are stocking grain hoping to recoup huge profits when the prices shoot up in the next few months.A small survey by URN in Kisenyi and Owino produce Markets shows that produce dealers are purchasing maize and beans in bulk in preparation of a shortage. A kilo of maize is currently selling at 700 shillings.

However, traders like Noah Ssempa and Boaz Asiimwe expect to make 500 shillings more by selling the same quantity at 1300 shillings once the commodity is in short supply. Produce dealers told Uganda Radio Network Wednesday that it is difficult to control the amount of produce sold and its price since there are no official rates have been set by Ministry of Agriculture.
  
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Monica Byasiima, another produce dealer in Owino Market says she sells her beans between 500 to 2500 shillings per kilo depending on the variety of the crop. Byasiima says that although there is anxiety in the market that a drop in supply could hike the produce prices, she can still break even by selling to regular buyers from South Sudan, Kenya and Rwanda.

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Although the Ministry of Agriculture maintains the country is unlikely to face a severe shortage. A report from the Office of the prime minister title “Summary assessment report on disaster risks and food insecurity” shows dire effects of drought in Karamoja region, which is prone to dry spells. While attributing climatic factors affecting food production to global warming, Ministry of Agriculture Spokesperson Connie Achayo is positive that it’s unlikely for Uganda to experience acute food shortages, since it was a bread basket for the East African region.

Achayo explains that the anticipated food shortage is due to a dry spell that has seen the harvest of staple foods like maize and beans go down. She noted that there were still gaps in distribution of food, since some regions had plenty while others remained with minimal supply. Achayo acknowledged that the Government has no control over pricing of farm produce. She emphasized the need to re-organize communities to avoid food wastage and restriction of food sales to neighboring countries, to ensure that Uganda remains with ample supply throughout the season.