Economic experts, farmers and consumers have attributed the increase of vegetable prices in urban centres to prolonged drought that affected some parts of the country especially Eastern Province and parts of Southern province. The Consumer Price Index for January 2022 indicates that food prices increased by 5.1 percent compared to December 2021. It showed that vegetables increased by 11.8 percent while cereals prices increased by 2.1 percent in urban areas. The urban price index is calculated based on approximately 1,622 products in twelve urban centres of Rwanda. Food and non-alcoholic beverages prices increased by 4.5 percent in January compared to the same month in 2021. A spot check by The New Times among consumers and vegetable farmers found, for instance, that tomatoes and carrots prices have drastically increased. “The dry spells began in May last year up to November. This means both seasons C and A were affected and very few farmers have means to irrigate their crops. That is why the low vegetables’ produce that survived, reached the market at higher prices due to increased demand,” said Dieudonné Niyodushima, a farmer in the Rilima sector of Bugesera district, adding that beans were also drastically affected. According to Evariste Tugirinshuti, the president of Maize Farmers’ Cooperatives Federation in Eastern and Southern provinces the produce decreased by between 40 percent and 50 percent due to dry spells. Over 36,000 households comprising over 156,000 members that were affected by prolonged drought in Eastern Province were provided with food relief according to the ministry of agriculture and animal resources. The effects on farmers have thus affected prices on the market. Diane Murekatete, a vendor in one of the food shops in the Remera sector of Gasabo district said that they are ‘selling one small tomato at Rwf50 and the big one at Rwf100’ saying the supply has drastically decreased. “One kilogramme of tomatoes is over Rwf1,000 compared to the previous months. The same situation is happening to carrots and others” she said. Straton Habyarimana, an economic analyst said that prices of vegetables might have increased due to drought effects on production adding, however, that there might be other factors. “Last year was characterized by prolonged dry spells. This might be one of the factors that led to low production and thus affected enough supply on the market. When such low supply happens, prices increase on the market,” he said. On the other hand, he said, some produce might have not yet been harvested by January meaning that when the harvest is not yet on the market prices might remain higher. Habyarimana said that while irrigation needs to be scaled up to increase production, there is a need for technologies to store and conserve fruits and vegetables for a long time to avoid shortage and rising prices during the period of crisis and non-harvesting period. “Vegetables can be dried and stored for a long time. This could ensure that vegetables are always available at favorable prices for consumers when there is low harvest and crisis which thus avoids increasing prices. Technologies for value addition to vegetables such as tomatoes and carrots should be worked on,” he said. Explaining the factors behind the increase in food prices, Yusuf Murangwa, the Director General of the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda, said in January most harvests might have not reached the markets yet previous harvest is very low in stocks which drive up the prices. “Around this time of the year January it’s normally seasonal issues just before harvest. Planting for most crops is done in September, October and harvested in January and February. We will be watching what happens next two months when we publish numbers for February and March prices,” he said, adding that with such prices they could establish if the prices are going down or not in urban areas and thus draw conclusions.