Uganda: Food Prices Shoot Up in Teso Over Prolonged Drought

Prices of basic food crops in Teso Sub-region have gone up over crop failure precipitated by a prolonged dry spell.

A Daily Monitor mini-survey shows that most districts in the sub-region have experienced low rainfall this year, which has prevented farmers from growing crops such as cassava, maize and groundnuts.

This has resulted in low yields and hence increased prices. For instance, the price of dry cassava chips, which is used for making local bread, popularly known as atapa, has increased to Shs800 per kilogramme from Shs400, whereas a kilogramme of maize grain, which previously cost Shs600, is now being sold at Shs900.

Ms Grace Akello, a produce dealer in Kumi industrial area, Kumi Municipality, told Daily Monitor last Friday that she anticipates a further increase in the prices of all food crops produced in Teso, citing crop failure as a result of long dry spell.

"We have agents who supply us with grain, and other produce but the reports we get from them indicate a poor harvest. I have orders for green gram from Kenya, but it is not here," Ms Akello explained.

She added that the prices of dry cassava chips will increase further when schools reopen because they will increase the demand for maize grain.

Mr Moses Waswa, a produce dealer in Soroti Town, said the price of groundnuts has also increased from around Shs3,000 to Shs5,000 per kilo, depending on the type.

'Semi-deserts'

Mr Mike Odongo Lo Asio, the chairperson of Ngora District, said there are areas that have registered nearly total crop failure. He added that areas such as Morukakise, Kakor, Puna, Kamodokima and Omiito are becoming like semi-deserts.

"Even when these areas received some bit of rainfall, they were unable to cultivate. The district production department is already putting together a report, which we intend to share with the central government," he said.

"From my survey, this year's crop failure if more than 75 percent, which is dangerous," he added.

Mr Rajab Ogogol, the production officer for Kumi District, said food prices will increase because many areas have suffered a prolonged dry spell.

He said the drought has left fields scorched, with maize, green gram, maize, ground nuts and cassava fields the most affected.

Mr Ogogol urged farmers to plant fast maturing crops when the rains come.

Mr Bernard Silver Ongom, the production officer for Katakwi District, also crop failure in the area at 75 per cent following the continued dry spell.

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