World Bulletin / News Desk
The cost of food in Uganda is rising to a level that could threaten the country’s economic stability, according to an analyst.
Food crop inflation rose from 7.2 percent in September to 20.2 percent the following month, according to government statistics while the Ugandan shilling has fallen by about 25 percent against the dollar since the beginning of the year.
“We are going to see a scarcity in the market, which will force Ugandans to buy food that comes from abroad for which we have to spend the little foreign exchange currency we have,” Patrick Wakida, director of Research World International’s social and public research division, told Anadolu Agency.
Low supply and increasing demand has seen maize prices jump by up to 67 percent over the last 12 months, according to World-Grain.com.
While the price for staples such as beans and cassava flour were generally stable, the wholesale cost of cooking bananas rose 10 percent between August and September.
Kato Christopher, who sells cooking bananas - known as matooke - at Nakasero market in Kampala, told Anadolu Agency the price of a bunch of bananas had risen from 50,000 shillings ($14) to 55,000 shillings ($16) in a month.
“Previously there was a prolonged dry spell that led to low yields,” he said. “Now we have heavy rains and the roads are bad.”
Potato seller Paul Mubiru said his supplies were affected by heavy rains causing transport problems. “I buy the Irish [potatoes] from Singo in Central and Kisoro in Western Uganda but because of the rains the roads are so bad so we have to pay more money for transport costs.”
Wakida proposed a subsidy for fuel to bring food prices down.
“If the government can come up with 300 shillings for fuel, this means the trucker will have no excuse for charging high prices and the matooke seller will also not sell his produce at a high price.”
However, conversely to the floods in parts of Uganda, severe drought across sub-Saharan Africa has reduced harvests and even some areas of Uganda have seen crop development affected by drought.
The United Nations Development Program warned in October of a looming humanitarian crisis across southern Africa due to a lack of water.