exporters are worried about the future of the agriculture sector because of the delayed
reopening of the aviation industry.
Produce prices have dropped over the last
four months with fruits and vegetables being the most affected. For
example, the farmgate price of a bunch of bananas has dropped to as low as
3,000 Shillings on average from10,000 Shillings in January. An average
size pineapple now goes for 400 Shillings at farmgate price and 700 Shillings in
Kampala, half the price six months ago.
Traders have also complained
of dumping rotting foodstuffs due to a plunge in demand despite the low prices. Some dealers attribute this to the closure of Uganda’s borders and airports and
movement restrictions in the country because of Covid-19.
James Kanyije, the Chief Executive Officer KK Fresh Produce
Exporters Ltd, says they are worried that farmers could abandon agriculture
due to the glitch in the market.
//Cue in; The exports and…
Cue out…their only livelihood.”//
In the 1990s, many farmers slashed their coffee plantations because of poor
prices. Vanilla farmers followed suit in early 2000 when the price of the
crop dropped drastically. However, CURAD, a consortium that partners with universities
to promote agribusiness attributes the current price reductions to a sharp
increase in agricultural output without a corresponding market expansion.
Managing Director, Apollo Segawa calls for an expeditiously switch to value
addition, which he says will help expand the market for agriculture products.