How Masaka Road Cut Off Is Affecting Food Prices

The closure of the Kampala-Masaka road due to flooding has caused significant food supply disruptions and led to an increase of food prices by over 50 per cent especially for products sourced from southwestern Uganda and Tanzania.

The main linkup road of Masaka road was closed was a result of the rising water levels of River Katonga, which led to flooding and the destruction of the bridge.

Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) has stated that reconstruction works which may take up to three weeks will only commence after the water levels have subsided. As a temporary solution, motorists have been advised to use an alternative route that adds an extra 56 km to their journey, resulting in increased fuel costs. The rise in transport fares has impacted traders and consumers alike. 

Uthman Kalemba, a truck driver transporting produce from Tanzania, stated that the diversion has increased the transport fare from Shs 317,000 to Shs 341,000 per tonne.

Similarly, Rogers Tumwebaze, a trader dealing in dry beans, reported a Shs 300,000 increase in transport fare for a 12-tonne truck from Kabale, leading to a rise in wholesale prices. 

“At full-board of 12 tones, the transport cost was about Shs 1.5 million, now it is Shs 1.8 million, and we used to sell a kilogram of beans at Shs 5800 on average, but since Saturday the price is now Shs 61,000 at wholesale, and for the retail prices, I can’t tell because everyone’s has their pricing factors to consider,” he said.

The disruptions in transportation have also caused a scarcity of beef supply, forcing butcheries to close early.  

“As you can see, I am closing down, and remember it is not yet even 2 pm. For the past three days we have not been having the beef we used to have, and those who supply us, say it is scarce due to the disruption in transportation from the villages,” Musa Sserubiri, a butcher said.

Additionally, the supply of vegetables has been affected, resulting in double prices. An eggplants and green paper dealer only identified as Safiina, says their merchandise is now more expensive and not easy to collect.

Teddy Nanfuka highlighted the sharp increase in matooke prices, with a sack that used to be transported for Shs 15,000 now costing Shs 30,000. 

“We even pity those transporters, imagine someone coming from Mbarara, to Masaka, then Sembabule, Gomba to Mpigi, and finally Kampala,” she said. 

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