The price of produce prices has gone up in Busia District due to high demand in neighbouring Kenya and a shortage of the same on the local market.
A kilogram of Maize has gone up from 560 to 750 Shillings, beans are now sold at between 2,400 and 2,600 from the previous cost of 1,900 Shillings, while soybean has moved from 1600 to 2000 Shillings. Millet is now sold at 2500 Shillings, an increase of 900 Shillings from the usual cost, Sorghum is at 1,100 from 700 Shillings, groundnuts at 4,000 Shillings from the initial 3,200 Shillings while Sim-sim costs 4,000 from 3,500 Shillings per kilogram.
Wilson Musenero, a maize trader says that there’s a scarcity of produce especially maize which has high demand in Kenya and many of them are looking at this as an opportunity to recover from the losses they incurred when Kenya announced a ban on Ugandan maize recently.
The Kenyan government issued a ban on the importation of maize from Uganda in March 2021, a decision which, according to the head of Kenyan Agriculture and Food Authority was triggered by reports that maize from Uganda and Tanzania contains substances that cause cancer.
Abdallah Kawanguzi, another maize trader says that the price is shooting up due to increased revenue of produce by the tax collections authorities in both Uganda and Kenya. Before the ban, they were taxed between 8,000 to 10,000 Shillings depending on the size of the truck but currently, they are charged between 12,000 to 15,000 Shillings.
Hassan Abed Wankya, a trader mainly dealing in beans says that the price has slightly gone up because the beans on the marker are transported from as far as Kamwenge, Bweyale, Lira, Kasese, Mityana, Masaka among other places.
A cross-section of area residents says that the area is also struggling with a food shortage as many of the traders are looking at the Kenyan market where they are earning more from their produce. They have appealed to the government to reduce the revenue on produce to aid a drop in prices.
Frank Kasumba, the Busia produce manager says that the pace at which maize and other produce is being sold brings hope that the market is recovering from shocks.