A sharp increase in commodity prices in the past few months has caused concerns across the Eastern Province due to the rising cost of living.
Traders in Ntunga in Rwamagana, one of the big markets in the province, noted that there was a general rise in food prices across the region despite it being a harvesting period.
Samson Ndikubwimana, a trader in the market, told Business Times that customers were reluctant to buy the beans he had just delivered because of the high prices.
“This is a period when food prices are normally low because of the harvest season. Ironically, we are experiencing high prices. A kilogramme of beans that is supposed to be at about Rwf200 costs Rwf500 today. Cassava flour is at Rwf380, which is double the normal price,” he said.
Julienne Kantengwa, a charcoal vendor in Rwamagana Market, said the prices were beyond the reach of many people.
“A bag of charcoal, which I used to buy at Rwf6,000 now costs Rwf7,000. This means that I retail at Rwf7,500. It is a sad reality that I am forced to pass on the price burden to the customers” she noted.
Claudine Musanabera, a resident of Ntunga village, attributed the increase of food prices to poor yields.
She said the new changes in the agricultural sector affected food production, adding that the recent introduction of terraces compounded the problem.
“We suddenly found ourselves getting poor yields...we are taking time to adapt to agricultural changes. The modern terraces introduced affected our crops, hence the poor yields we are witnessing today,” she said.
Innocent Ukizuru, the Rwamagana district agriculture officer, however remained optimistic, noting that food security was assured.
He said modern terracing was meant to offer long-term food security to communities and the country at large.
“I know it wasn’t easy for some people to change. Today, the prices are high, but by September the yields will be good. So, the effect is temporary and will pave way for all-time high production as new farming methods take root.
“Besides, residents enjoy good wages from working on the terraces,” he said.