By Javier Silas Omagor
A surge in the price of red onions has left the traders in Mbale rationing the vegetable.
Since the beginning of 2023, the price of humble red onions has been increasing.
The prices have surged to around sh3,500 per kilogram up from sh1,000 in as recently as March 2023.
Farmers and traders are the most affected by the current situation with some of them suggesting that the price spike in onions will only get worse before it gets better.
Onion traders told New Vision that the price surge could easily equal the record high experienced in 2012 where the kilogram went for sh6500.
Rebeca Nambuya, a concerned trader, says most of them are already feeling the pinch.
“I have personally lost over 45 per cent of my earnings,” Nambuya said.
“Our farmers have been frustrated by poor weather conditions causing poor harvest.
“At the end, the produce from within can not sustain our market demand so we must resort to Tanzania.
“Tanzania is a tricky business resort because we have to incur lots of expenses including transportation, distribution and taxes.”
Another trader, Patrick Wanyoro, recounts the mishap being the fact that Uganda over-exported red onions to neighboring countries such as South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Kenya.
“Government should intervene and see how we can control onion exportation to avoid such shortages,” Wanyoro tipped.
Another group of people who are most at risk are retailers who are struggling to copy with the frequently soaring onion prices.
Melanie Aanyu, is one of them who is gutted; “It is tough for us who have to buy to sell to the final consumers.”
Aanyu stressed that, “making profits against the current prices is becoming difficult and driving most of us (retailers) out of business.”
Meanwhile, for climate change activists such as Joel Cherop, attributes the myriad of onion shortages to climate change to a greater extent.
“Our irresponsible interaction with nature is causing the fickle weather that is making us all not reap our expectations right from the farms to all the other fields,” Cherop alluded to.
The climate change activist wants all stakeholders to play their part in protecting the environment so as to be able to harvest good and reliable yields so as to enjoy stable pricings throughout the seasons.