By Mudangha Kolyangha
With just few days to Christmas and New Year celebrations, the prices of basic food items and clothing have skyrocketed in most markets across the sub-region, a mini survey has indicated.
The Mini-survey conducted by Daily Monitor has shown that in some markets, the prices of food stuffs, had showed a marginal increase during the ending week.
“The commodity prices including clothing have shot up as customers rush to do shopping in preparations for Christmas day and the New Year. This has been attributed to high transportation costs, high inflation rate, poor economy and the lack of disposable income”Micheal Kuchana, a business entrepreneur has said.
It’s believed that many people believe that the festive season provides the opportunity for traders to make huge profits, necessitating the price hikes. Some commodities that have witnessed noticeable increase include rice, chicken, beef, tomatoes and many others.
In Kamonkoli trading centre, Budaka District, a bag of 100kg, which initially sold between Shs230,000 and Shs240,000 now costs Shs260, 000,-300,000 depending on the brand.
A basin of tomatoes now sells for between Shs80,000 to Shs90,000 as against Shs60,000 and Shs 40,000 previously while a bunch of matooke depending on the size ranges from Shs25000 to Shs 30.000.
Mr. Juma Mwanika, a rice seller, told Daily Monitor that the increase in food prices had more negative impact on the dealers than the consumers. “If the prices of food stuffs are stable, both the dealers and the consumers will be happy but when there is a hike in prices of food items, marketers will seat all day without customers,” he said.
Similar trend is being recorded in other markets in Mbale central market and Bugwere market. In Mbale main market, the price of chicken has almost doubled by nearly 50%.The chicken had risen to an average of 25,000 and 30,000, depending on the size while the price of goats and cow are unpredictable but also depends on the size.
Ms. Betty Nankoma, one of the sellers at Bugwere market noted that the demand for chicken and other food stuffs was usually high during festive periods such as Christmas and the New Year.
“During this festive season, there are a lots of activities and so the prices of certain commodities tend to shoot up including chicken and turkeys,” she said.
In Pallisa, the situation is not different at all, prices of certain commodities had been hiked as people close to the festive season. The survey further revealed that come commodities like Sugar had shot up from Shs3000 to Shs3600 per kilo.
For rice, especially Kaiso brand, stands at Shs270,000 for 100kg while supper is now moving to Shs 400000 for 100kg against shs 360,000 one bunch of matooke now costs Shs 0,000 from the usual Shs 18,000 and Shs20,000.
Although traders had made some increment on their commodities, there is low purchase of these commodities because they are attributing to the prevailing poverty, which can’t allow them purchase in large quantities.
They said that due to the scarcity of matooke in the eastern region, the prices therefore had to go up because the banana wilt destroyed their plantation causing shortage of the matooke especially in Pallisa, which now gets matooke from Mbale and Mbarara.
On Transport fares, the Taxis have already taken the advantage to hike transport fares.