By Moses Kigongo
The business community is worried of the likely impact of the Masaka-Kampala road damage to the prices of food items like rice, bananas, Irish potatoes, beans, and groundnuts among others that pass on this route to most city markets in Kampala and the surrounding areas.
This follows the heavy rains that caused floods which swept away the Katonga bridge along Masaka-Kampala highway, forcing Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) officials to close the road on Thursday.
Kampala traders are worried that the closure of the road is likely to cause prices of food items to rise as the country gets plenty of food supplies from Tanzania and western Uganda through that route.
Livingston Ssenyonga, a Kampala agricultural produce dealer, said, “We are worried that the price of most of the goods like milk ,fish and other agricultural produce like bananas, Irish, onions among others could increase due to increased transport costs of having to pass through Ssembabule said Livingston Ssenyonga ,one of the produce dealers from Kisenyi area.”
He explained that traders have to incur extra costs for fuel used in the additional 80kms to pass through Ssembabule to the city markets.
His concerns have been shared by other traders including Winnie Nakasujja (a fish trader from Busega market) and Obed Turyasingura ( a farmer and an Irish potato trader from Kisoro) ,who asked the UNRA to expedite the process of reinstalling the bridge to mitigate the situation.
The Kampala-Masaka road damage has happened at the time when the Kisoro- Mbarara road has also just been damaged by heavy rains that poured last week in Kigezi sub-region.
The damage done to roads in Kigezi region has caused the prices of irish potatoes to drastically go up due to difficulties in transportation.
Reports indicate that already, transport fares have drastically increased from the usual fare of Sh12,000 for the journey from Masaka to Kampala to between Sh45,000 and Sh50,000.
The Kampala traders have appealed to UNRA and other responsible authorities to expeditiously salvage the situation and restore the damaged roads.