For the past two weeks, the retail price of Irish potatoes has been going up significantly.
This rise has prompted consumers to adjust consumption habits with businesses that use them as raw materials, such as restaurants reviewing food prices.
The consumers have expressed concern on how the prices gone up with current prices standing at prices ranging from Rwf370 to Rwf500 a kilogramme.
With regular supply, a kilogramme of potatoes goes for Rwf260 in wholesale.
“Rwanda being a free economy where the supply and demand forces are the key determinants, Irish potatoes are not exempt. The skyrocketing price is as a result of the scarcity of the commodity and irregular supply from the main regions, producing potatoes (Nyabihu, Ruhengeri and Musanze),” Theoneste Nzanimpa, an Irish potato traders’ representative from Kacyiru zone, told Business Times.
Stakeholders say that this is evidenced by decreased output from the various regions.
For instance, stakeholders say that in recent weeks, wholesalers have had to seek potatoes from other regions with some even sourcing from outside the country.
“The impact can also be felt in the sense that in the months of April, May, and June in Kigali only, the consumption level was 600 tonnes per day but that quantity has fallen drastically by more than 60 per cent to just 240 tonness,” Nzanimpa said.
Patrick Nsabimana, a Kacyiru resident running a small food business, said that he has had to cut production from using 40 kilogrammes of input to 15 Kilogrammes to adapt to the price adjustments and consumer trends in response to food prices.