Banana prices have more than doubled in Eastern Province, driven by the ongoing food shortage in the region.
A bunch of banana in Kayonza town now costs between Rwf6,000 and Rwf8,000 up from between Rwf2,000 and Rwf3,000 previously.
Traders say the increase is due to the fact that they get supplies from Kirehe and Ngoma districts. They added that farmers are no longer selling their bananas to local traders, preferring those from Kigali who offer better prices. Erneste Ndahayo, a banana trader in Kabarondo Main Market, who has been getting supplies from Kirehe and Ngoma districts, said this is the first time in many years that banana prices have gone up to Rwf10,000 in Kayonza.
He said he now restocks his stall 100 bunches of bananas weekly because of a significant drop in sales, down from 200 bunches. The high prices have also pushed away buyers, he added.
Claudine Mukayisire, a banana seller in Rwamagana town, said farmers from the main growing areas stopped selling their bananas as a result of the food shortage in the area.
Justine Kagoyire, a resident of Kabarondo, said he used to buy a bunch of bananas at Rwf4,000, but now the price has risen to about Rwf8000.
Traders attribute the hike to the prolonged dry spell in the province. Bananas are a staple food for most of the residents in the east.
“We have resorted to buying other foodstuffs, bananas are now a luxury for many residents. But the prices of other foodstuffs, like Irish potatoes and beans, have also increased,” a trader in Kayonza central market said.