How South Sudan war saved Uganda from Famine

Despite the dry season, the price of Mattoke are very low.
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By staff writer

Market data from market information services firm Infotrade Uganda, reveals the prices for major commodity prices in Uganda have been on a downward trend since June 2016.

The prices of ground nuts, for example, have fallen from Ugx. 4,450 in June 2016 to an average of Ugx. 3,950. Maize flour prices have also declined from Ugx. 1,850 in June 2016 to Ugx. 1,750. A kilo of Nambale beans is now selling at Ugx. 2,450, up from Ugx. 2,800.

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The prices of Super rice have also declined from Ugx. 3,450 in June to Ugx. 3,200.

A market survey carried out by Newz Post reveals a bunch of Matooke is selling at Ugx. 15,000 up from Ugx. 30,000/25000.

While a Pineapple is selling at Ugx. 1,500 up from Ugx. 3,000. A tray of local eggs is selling at Ugx. 15,000 up from Ugx. 18,000 while local chicken now goes for Ugx. 15,000 up from Ugx. 20,000/25,000.The price of other foodstuff is also low.

Enter the South Sudan war

Behind the falling food prices amid the long dry season is the war in South Sudan. The recent outbreak of war, which saw more than 250,000 Ugandans evacuated from South Sudan made matters worse.

The traders who were exporting (mainly foodstuff) to the war torn country, no longer do so. The foodstuff that would be exported is now circulating and being eaten here. Hence, the drop in prices.

The farmers who had borrowed loans from commercial banks to boost their farms expecting higher returns from the market in South Sudan are counting losses. Many have failed to pay back the loans.

According to the Bank of Uganda (BoU) August monetary policy report, agricultural sector has the highest level of nonperforming loans (NPL) with 15.3 percent.

The sector recorded the biggest increase in its total bad loans with its NPL ratio increasing from 6.2 percent in June 2015 to 15.3 percent in June 2016.

Value addition

In the past few years, the government has been preaching the gospel of value addition. What happened? Perhaps this is the time when Uganda farmers would be earning more from their produce.

, What will happen if South Sudan stays as it is for the next 10 years? The BoU statistics reveal 20 percent of Uganda’s exports go to South Sudan.

What happened to the Presidential Initiative on Banana? We continue to invest in money in this project; however, nothing worth talking about is coming out.

Over to you our parliamentarians.

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