Irish potato, banana and cassava prices continue upward trend

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A bunch of bananas now costs Rwf10,000, while a kilo is at Rwf350. / (Appolonia Uwanziga)

You will have to dig deep into your pockets to be able to buy some of your favourite foodstuffs or even suspend them altogether as prices continue to rise. According to a mini market survey by The New Times, prices of Irish potatoes, cassava and bananas have continued to increase in Kigali city and its suburbs over the past few weeks.

A kilogramme of Irish potatoes (Kinigi variety) goes for Rwf400 in markets across Kigali, from Rwf350 last week. It costs Rwf340 per kilo on wholesale, up from Rwf300. The other types of Irish potatoes cost Rwf380 a kilo from Rwf300 in Nyarugenge Market. Potatoes are going for Rwf400 in Nyabihu district, from Rwf350. A bunch of bananas is now at Rwf10,000 on average, from Rwf6,000 previously, while a kilogramme of banana fingers costs Rwf350 in Batsinda and Nyabugogo markets, up from Rwf300 last week. Cassava increased by Rwf50 to Rwf400 per kilogramme in Kimironko Market, from Rwf350.

Placide Nsabimana, a vendor in Nyarugenge Market, attributed the increase in potato prices to low supply from Northern Province, which is the main Irish potato growing area in the country.

Banana traders said Kirehe and Ngoma districts in Eastern Province, the main banana suppliers are experiencing shortages presently, a situation that has pushed up prices. Bananas are also the staple food for most of the residents in the area.

Rosine Uwineza, a Kimironko resident, said her family no longer eats bananas as she cannot afford them, adding that the problem has been compounded by the rise in Irish potato and maize flour prices.

Vedaste Hakizimana, the managing director of Nyabihu Potato Company in Nyabihu District, said stock from the first harvest season has been completed, but expects potato prices may drop in the coming two weeks after the crop from the new harvest comes to the market.

Meanwhile, prices of other foodstuffs are stable. Ground nuts range from Rwf1,400 to Rwf1,500 a kilo, that of sorghum flour costs Rwf900, and millet flour is at Rwf1,400 per kilogramme in Nyarugenge and Kinamba markets. A kilogramme of beans is at Rwf350 in different markets across the city, yellow bananas are between Rwf500 and Rwf1,000 per cluster, depending on size; pineapples (medium-sized) cost Rwf500 each. Mangoes go for Rwf2,300 a kilo in Nakumatt Supermarket, and range from Rwf1,600 to Rwf1,800 per kilogramme in grocery stores and markets, while that of passion fruits costs Rwf1,200 in Kimironko Market.

A litre of fresh milk is at Rwf350 across the city, while packed milk is at between Rwf500 (half litre) and Rwf1,300 (litre), and bread goes for between Rwf900 and Rwf2,000, depending on brand, size, type and whether one buys from a supermarket or small shops. Sugar ranges from Rwf1,000 to Rwf1,100 per kilo.