South Sudan Conflict: Isingiro Farmers Stuck with Their Banana Harvest

6999 Views Isingiro District, Uganda

In short
According to Ainembabazi because of the boom in the South Sudan business she acquired a loan from Stanbic bank to expand her banana plantation from three acres to ten acres.

Matooke farmers in Isingiro district are stuck with their harvest as a result of the ongoing South Sudan conflict. Several famers in Isingiro have been exporting their bananas directly to Juba in South Sudan since July 2010 because of the available market. On average more than 100 trucks of bananas have been leaving Isingiro for South Sudan every week. However, the banana prices have plummeted because of the unrest in South Sudan.

Gloria Ainembabazi, a banana farmer from Kaberebere town council in Isingiro district says they have been hit hard by the conflict.  According to Ainembabazi because of the boom in the South Sudan business she acquired a loan from Stanbic bank to expand her banana plantation from three acres to ten acres. She is now stuck with ripe bananas in her plantation because most of the traders have halted business for fear of being trapped in the South Sudan conflict.
 
Didas Lukyamuzi, the chairperson Kaberebere Juba traders association says now 10 to 20 trucks of Matooke are being ferried to Kampala markets weekly unlike in the past. Lukyamuzi says those still in business just sale their Matooke at a giveaway price out of frustration. A bunch of banana that has been going for 25,000 shillings not costs between 5000 and 10,000 shillings at farm gate price.
 
Lukyamuzi is worried that many traders and farmers may end up in jail over debts.  He says almost all 200 traders and farmers in his association have loan obligations with different microfinance institutions across the country. Lukyamuzi says they are considering going into negotiations with government to see how to rescue indebted traders.
 
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Sharif Nakintu, the town clerk Kaberebere town council says the revenue they have been collecting from Matooke traders has dropped tremendously since the south Sudan conflict broke out in December.
  
According to Nakintu, before the conflict they would could 700.000 shillings from the traders heading to Juba markets each day but the collection had dropped to slightly 200,000 shillings.
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