Monday, July 22, 2024
Home Markets Consumers Brace For Low And High Food Prices This Christmas

Consumers Brace For Low And High Food Prices This Christmas

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By Joshua Kato

It is the Christmas week!  Many farmers have reared livestock successfully, while others have food crops ready. The consumers are already flooding the nearest markets to stock food for Christmas while farmers and middle men are looking for the best bargains. While there are all kinds of markets including make shift temporary one, majority of urban dwellers buy from established markets.  

These are permanent markets constructed in the big cities and towns that also include abattoirs for livestock.  In Kampala, examples include St Balikudembe, Wandegeya, Natete, Nakawa, Kalerwe, Busega etc.  Gulu, Masaka, Lira, Mbarara, Arua, Fort-Portal have got such markets.

“This is where city residents buy their Christmas food from,” says Sarah Namulindwa, a trader in St Balikuddembe Market. For a farmer to sell to these large markets, he has to visit and identify his customers before he brings his products to the markets.

“Unlike the rural, mobile markets were anybody can bring products on market day and sell them, it is impossible to do so in the big city markets. You need a permanent stall or you should have identified a trader who will take your product,” Namulindwa says. Namulindwa says that

Vegetable prices drop as Christmas approaches

The price of green vegetables and tomatoes has dropped drastically in the last two weeks thanks to the beginning of harvests by farmers across the country.  Vegetable farmers who planted at the beginning of the first rains in August started harvesting in November. This has given hope of lower prices this Christmas.

In most markets across the city, a basket with at least 10tomatoes goes for as low as sh2,000 at the moment compared to sh5,000 in October. There are more supplies of green vegetables like Dodo (amaranthas) Nakati, garden eggs, sukuma wiiki etc. It is relief for both traders and consumers because at the peak of the vegetable scarcity in July and August, some of the cabbages on the market were imported from Kenya.

“The vegetable corridor of Wakiso that includes areas like Busukuma, Namayumba, Masulita is now yielding and that is why supply is increasing,” Hajjati Zaina Kizito a vendor at Kalerwe market says. This supply will go on through the Christmas season. Other vegetable growing areas include Kayunga, parts of Nakaseke, parts of Mukono.

According to a survey across Kampala city markets, Kalerwe market had the cheapest vegetables, followed by Nakawa, Busega, Natete, Wandegeya while the most expensive was Nakasero.

Chicken prices rise

Chicken prices have been rising for the last one year due to various reasons. One of these is increasing feed prices due to maize and soya scarcity. In the last one year, the price of feeds has risen by over sh1,000 to an average sh3,000 per kilogram. “The chicken suppliers have also increased drastically, by an average sh5,000 per chicken,” says Goretti Migadde, at Kalerwe. At Kalerwe, broilers that weigh at least 1kg cost between sh17,000 to sh20,000. The same cost sh13,000 last year at the market. On the farm in Kampala, Wakiso, Mukono and Mpigi, farmers sell them at an average sh13,000 up from sh9,000 during the 2021 Christmas day. Of layers cost sh23,000 up from sh18,000 in 2021 while four months old kuroilers cost sh30,000 up from sh25,000. Local chicken cost between sh35,000 to sh50,000.    

Goats, sh50,000 sdded

Goat prices have risen by between sh50,000 and sh70,000 in the last one year. At most farms in Kiboga, Kyankwanzi, Mubende, Ssembabule, Kiruhura, Kyotera and Rakai a goat for slaughter averages sh200,000 up from sh150,000 last year around Christmas. Both farmers and middlemen point at a low supply of goats meat orchestrated by the long dry season between July and September. “We have castrates (endawo) at sh245,000 each,” says Grace Bwogi, known goat farmer in Kyotera. Averagely across city markets, a kilogram of goats meat now costs between sh19,000 and sh22,000. It will increase to sh24,000 in most cases.

Beef to rise by sh1,000-sh2,000

Beef prices have had the least increase in the last one year. Farmers say there has been a steady supply of beef across all markets in the country and this has kept prices low. “There are more farmers ‘fattening’ cows for beef than before and this has improved the supply of beef cattle,” Last year at this time, a kilogram of beef cost sh14,000 in lower town markets like Kalerwe and sh16,000 in upper markets like Nakasero. Traders predict that it will only rise by about sh1,000 to sh2,000 this Christmas.

Banana prices remain high

For matooke, consumers are likely to face perhaps the highest prices around Christmas in a long time. Since June this year, an average 60kg bunch has averaged sh35,000 across markets in Kampala and sh13,000 in banana growing areas of Bushenyi, Isingiro, Kabarole, Ntungamo etc. Prices are likely to remain high thanks to a low supply. “When prices dropped to their lowest in 2020, many farmers abandoned banana growing and now supply has been low,” says Joseph Mugula, a dealer at Nakawa market. Prices dropped to as low as sh5,000 in the farms and sh10,000 in the markets in 2020-21. Sh40,000 is the expected average price for a good bunch this Christmas.

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