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Salt Prices Shoot Up in Acholi, Teso Sub region

In many shops URN visited in Gulu, Agago and Kitgum districts, price of Habari table salt imported from Kenya sold in 500 grams’ packet had increased to Shillings 2,000 and 2,500 from 800 shillings. Salt packaged in 200 grams is now being sold at 1,500 shillings from 400 shillings.
Salt offloaded from a trailer in Soroti

Audio 2

The price of salt, one of the essential commodities in homesteads has shot up in several retail and wholesale shops in districts across Acholi and Teso Sub-regions.

Several traders say the price increment is due to scarcity of salt brought about by hoarding of goods by big stores anticipating to reap huge profits amidst the Corona Virus Disease Pandemic.

In many shops URN visited in Gulu, Agago and Kitgum districts, price of Habari table salt imported from Kenya sold in 500 grams’ packet had increased to Shillings 2,000 and 2,500 from 800 shillings. Salt packaged in 200 grams is now being sold at 1,500 shillings from 400 shillings.

Gerald Okot, a trader in Gulu Main Market says that a week ago, a carton of Habari salt was about 24,000 shillings but increased sharply to 60,000 by yesterday when the government announced the closure of all borders.

Okot says he is now selling a packet of 500-gram salt at 2,000 shillings from 800 shillings.

He anticipates the price is likely to rise even beyond since the country is not importing.

Charles Oyoo, a trader in Kitgum Municipality says he is selling 500 gram of salt at 2,500 shillings.

Oyoo notes that he bought a carton of salt from Gulu Municipality at shillings 65,000 shillings adding that he has been forced to increase the price to recover his money.

Grace Auma, a housewife in Kalongo Town Council says the price increment has shocked her and notes that many poor people are bound to go without salt in the coming days.

Mark Moro, the Regional Director Uganda Chamber Commerce and Industries says the price increment comes as a surprise. Moro notes that he has already contacted the Commissioner in the Ministry of Trade and Industries for a possible explanation on what could have caused the price increase.

“I am surprised by this price increment of salt, I just learnt of it this morning. I have already informed the top officials at the Ministry of Trade and Industries for feedback on the abnormal price variation,” Moro says.

Economists believe prices of several essential commodities will rise soon rise due to Corona Virus disease outbreak.

In the Teso region, salt that was selling 31,500 shillings per carton increased to 45,000 shillings on Thursday morning. By Thursday evening, a carton was selling at 60,000 shillings and above in Soroti town, which is the major shopping centre for other districts in Teso Sub Region.

In Kaberamaido town, people lined up for salt and had to beg shopkeepers to allow them to buy in low quantity for the families.

However, the situation was different on Saturday when a trailer full of salt arrived in the stores in Soroti. Many traders who had expected the situation to worsen were left in shock.

Peter Okello, a wholesaler in Soroti says the shortage was caused by speculators. 

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Lydia Namatovu, a resident of Kichinjaji in Soroti Municipality says some of her neighbours are resorting to other traditional ways of managing life after the shortage of salt.

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