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Traders Attribute Increase in Commodity Prices to Drought, High Fuel Costs

Several consumer commodities like maize flour, rice, and ground nuts are experiencing a sharp price increase since May.
03 Jul 2022 12:00
The increase in food prices in the country has been attributed to the change in weather and high fuel prices.

Several consumer commodities like maize flour, rice, and ground nuts are experiencing a sharp price increase since May. Currently, a kilogram of maize flour costs 3,600 shillings, up from 2,000, and on average, a kilogram of dry beans is at 3,300 shillings, up from 2800 shillings, rice is at an average of 4,200 shilling up from 4,000.

Hassan Nviiri the chairperson of Kisenyi Miller’s Association says that they are experiencing a shortage in supplies due to the low yields from the previous seasons which were caused by the February-March drought.

According to Nviiri, the season led to low maize supply against high demand and saw the price rise to 2050 up from 1,300 Shillings. 

“It is because of drought which destroyed our crops, and those who had kept theirs from the previous seasons hiked the prices, and the flour had to rise as well, remember the demand had been increased because the school had just reopened.” He explains.

Nviiri adds that they sometimes get maize from Tanzania, but the high fuel costs increase the transport fares.  

Resty Nassali, another maize miller, says that getting a one-tonne maize truck from Tanzania, costs them 1.2 million Shillings, given the distance and the high fuel prices. She adds that costs of packaging and loading fees are not included.

“By this time maize would be ready for harvest but it was not possible because of the past drought. And this shows that the situation will persist up to around December unless if a miracle happens.”

According to statistics from the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, maize flour prices in the country increased by over 46 percent, and this was one of the major contributors to the country’s inflation rate which stands at 6.8 percent as at end of June.

The other commodities dealers URN interacted with; also have similar reasons for the increment of their respective commodities.

Jane Namukwaya the vice-chairperson of Kampala Rice Traders Association says that the current rice prices are driven high by the increased fuel prices which have impacted the transport cost from source to the market.

According to Namukwaya, most of the rice sold on the Ugandan market is from Tanzania.

She adds that a truck charges 14.5 million shillings as transport costs from Tanzania to Uganda. 

“The areas which between 500 to 600 kilometers away from Uganda, no longer have rice, now we get it from Majjimooto which is over 1,400 kilometers longer, and like Uganda in Tanzania, fuel prices increased as well. In addition, they also don’t have much rice and the purchase price is up at about 2,700 shillings per kilogram before factoring in the other costs.” Namukwaya explains.