Muhammed Munyasi, a businessman dealing mainly in agro-produce attributes the alarming food prices to poor storage mechanisms used in the country.
Moroto residents are worried about the continuous
rise in food prices in the district. Food prices have been increasing in Moroto
since January due to prolonged drought in the region.
Karamoja districts only received some showers
towards the end of April after more than five months of severe heat.
A kilogram of maize grain that cost between Shillings 1000 to 1500 in January
now costs between Shillings 2000 and 2700.
Rice has increased from Shillings 3800 in
January to 5000 shillings. Beans have also shot up to Shillings 4200 per
kilogram from Shillings 3600 in January.
Although Karamoja usually
realizes increments in food prices at the beginning of the year, the 2019
prices have hit hard residents. Compared with 2018 in May, there is a huge
difference in food prices that range between Shillings 500 and 1500.
Muhammed Munyasi, a businessman dealing mainly in
agro-produce attributes the alarming food prices to poor storage mechanisms
used in the country.
“If there were good storage facilities in the country, we
would have no scarcity of agricultural produce since Uganda is gifted with a good
climate that favors farming throughout the year in different parts of the
country”, he said.
Munyasi urged government to regulate agricultural trade
especially exports that he observed is affecting food supply in local markets.
According to Mark Loli, the Moroto District Agricultural
Officer, the rise in food prices was caused by heavy rainfalls that destroyed
crops between June and October last year.
He notes that there was little or no harvest
realized in 2018 as few crops that survived were also ravaged by pests and
diseases like the fall army warm.
Loli urged farmers to utilize the ongoing rains to plant
improved and fast maturing crops like maize, beans and sorghum to save the
Robert Ojangole, the chairperson of the business community in
South Division in Moroto Municipality observes that the food situation has been
worsened by exports to Turkana.
He notes that most traders have now discovered
good markets in Turkana, Kenya and have resorted to such markets. He
also noted that the livestock quarantine in Moroto has affected demand for food
since many locals cannot afford to buy any food.
Many people in Karamoja rely on cattle trade to
earn a living. Thomas Loru, a resident of Kangole trading center
in Napak district, says the food situation has forced many residents to sell
their animals cheaply.
“While food prices have gone up, animal prices have
drastically reduced. Some families sell two to three animals but cannot get
enough food to sustain them for a month”, he said.
He adds that a number of locals have resorted to cutting
trees for charcoal; a situation he observed might have more drastic effects on