Data gathered from a survey conducted by this newspaper from various markets revealed that although there had been increases in food prices, they remain comparatively low compared to the 2017 and the second half of 2018 levels.
According to the data, one kilogramme of Irish potatoes is ranging between Rwf240 and Rwf290 depending on the type compared to back in September 2018 and 2017.
It was the same with cassava and banana prices which ranged between Rwf150 and Rwf200 a kilogramme are now between Rwf140 to Rwf190 respectively.
One of the reasons highlighted by some traders was the recent government intervention to control prices and restructuring the market.
Théoneste Nzanimpa, an Irish potato traders’ representative from Kacyiru Zone, said that the initiative led to the elimination of middlemen who used to increase prices at the expense of farmers and final consumers.
“They used to increase prices by as much as more than Rwf60 kilo” he said, adding that following the government’s intervention, farmers are now able to sell directly to traders who then sell to final consumers.
Dr Charles Bucagu, Deputy Director-General of Agriculture Research and Technological Transfer, Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board (RAB), said that apart from market restructuring, which has eliminated speculation, the government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources, with its associated bodies like RAB, came up with more weather and disease resistant and more yielding varieties for cassava and Irish potatoes which improved the supply side.
Singling out cassava, he added that since 2017, they had given out two cassava varieties which are resistant to cassava brown streak disease and it has increased the production level for farmers leading to low prices.