12 May 2006

Uganda: Frequent Power Cuts Push Food Prices Up

Kampala — ESCALATING electricity and fuel prices, coupled with persistent food crisis in the region, have pushed commodity prices up, The New Vision weekly survey has shown.

The survey done in the city's major markets showed that the effects of power and fuel price increment, had drastically affected the pricing of essential commodities as transporters and manufacturers struggle to meet operational costs.

The price of sugar has skyrocketed from sh1,500 a kilo to between sh1,800 and sh2,000, while a bar of soap is now going between sh900 and sh1,000 from sh700, the previous week.

A kilo of salt is selling at sh500 from sh400 last week.

There was also price increment for various foodstuffs despite increased supplies.

Traders attributed this to drought in the neighbouring countries of DR Congo, Kenya, Tanzania and Sudan.

This has created ready markets in these countries, leaving the local market in a shortfall.

"There has been famine in the neighbouring countries in Tanzania and Kenya.

"Rich traders from these countries buy in bulk at any price because of the demand in their countries. This has left us with little stock to satisfy the local demand," George Mukasa, a maize trader, said.

Another trader, Fred Kisozi, said supplies from rural farmers had declined due to soil depletion and prolonged drought.

A kilo of beans at St. Balikuddembe, is selling at sh1,300 up from sh900, the previous week, while a kilo of maize is now going for sh600 from sh450 last week.

Maize flour goes to sh1,100 from sh800.

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