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Bean Prices UP, Maize Down In Western

by Wangah Wanyama
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By Stephen Nuwagira

Joy Kyarikunda operates a small eatery in Ibanda town. Recently, she reviewed upwards the cost of some of her dishes, a move she says has kept away some of her regular customers. The eatery caters mainly for low-income earners. Kyarikunda says the rising prices of produce like beans and grounds have necessitated the review for the business to stay afloat.

Produce items whose prices have risen over the past month include beans, cassava, sorghum, millet, and groundnuts.

“Some of my regular customers get angry when I mention the revised rates. When one insists, I cut on the amount of the serving especially for new clients,” she says, adding that the business is hardly making a return. For instance, Katogo (of beans or grounds) is up sh500 to sh1,500 and meals of beans or grounds costs sh500 more.    

Presently, produce dealers in Ibanda town quote the price of mixed beans at between sh4,500 and sh4,800 per kilogramme depending on quality. This shows an increase from sh4,300 at the beginning of April, and sh3,000 in February. White beans (big) cost sh6,000 a kilo compared to sh5,500 over the reporting period. Yellow, short and green beans varieties cost sh5,000 a kilo, and that of namable goes for sh5,200 at produce stores in Ibanda town, indicating a rise from sh4,700. A kilogramme of groundnuts ranges from sh7,000 to sh8,000, depending on the variety; local groundnuts go for sh8,000 per kilo; sh7,000 for those imported from Tanzania while groundnuts from Koboko cost sh7,500. This shows a rise from

It is mixed fortunes for cassava growers and buyers, after the price for the root tuber rose to sh2,500 per kilo of dry cassava at stores in Ibanda, increasing from sh1,200 in January. Though the farm-gate price for dry cassava is sh2,000, indicating middlemen are making a killing.

Sorghum goes for sh2,700 a kilo, up from sh2,300 while sorted milled is at sh3,000 compared to sh2,700.  

Buyers will need to tighten their belts as traders project the upward trend in prices to continue through May and early June.

Ezra Kiiza, a produce dealer at Saza Market on Ibanda-Kazo road, attributes the rise in price of cassava to increased demand, explaining that the entry of Akariga energy drink makers on the market has created competition for the root tuber. Cassava is one of the ingredients the company uses to make the energy drink.

Kiiza says that cassava sold in Ibanda was largely from neighbouring Kitagwenda district, whose supply line has now been ‘disrupted’ by Akariga makers.

The trader attributes the rise in the prices of beans to demand from neighbouring countries Kenya and Rwanda. He also explained that beans planted after the first rains failed, creating a supply gap.   

Maize was however lower at sh1,600 compared to sh1,800 over the past month affected by closure of the school term. However, dealers say the price could recover in coming weeks as schools start stocking grains for the coming school term.

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