Soaring transport costs trigger rise in food prices

Food prices across the Eastern Province started to rise following an escalation in transport costs and other essential items. Prices of some foodstuffs in the local market increased or remained constant despite the recent increase in crop yields.
Farmers hold a giant bunch of bananas; The recent transport hike has affected food prices.
Farmers hold a giant bunch of bananas; The recent transport hike has affected food prices.

Food prices across the Eastern Province started to rise following an escalation in transport costs and other essential items.

Prices of some foodstuffs in the local market increased or remained constant despite the recent increase in crop yields.

Jean de Diue Ntakirutinka, a resident of Mpanga Sector, Kirehe district said that at this time of the year, food prices are supposed to have drastically reduced.

He warned that the price of beans and other staple foods is showing slow but steady increase.

“In shops and local markets, retailers have raised the prices of many commodities, especially foodstuffs such as maize flour and cooking oil.”

“A kilogram of beans has gone above Rwf200 when it is supposed to be less than Rwf150 in rural areas. This sets a very bad precedent, especially when it comes to scarcity...the prices will sharply increase,” he said.

Claudette Umurerwa, a business woman in Ngoma district told Business Times that commercial transport has gone up, triggering an increase in foodstuffs and other essential items.

“Drivers capitalise on any legal transport increase, to cheat their clients, particularly in rural areas. The drivers have almost doubled the charges…where we used to pay Rwf50,000 for a lorry, we are now paying Rwf80,000,” she said.

“I used to buy a bag of flour for Rwf7,500 and this would take us for more than a month but now I can’t afford it because the cost has increased drastically to Rwf10,000, which is the cheapest bag,” said one resident of Rwamagana town.

Protais Murayira, the Mayor of Kirehe district confirmed the developments but allayed fears, saying that the price increases were not at worrying levels.

“Fuel is a big expenditure in the transport sector and as such, any increase in the price, even by a franc, really affects us. The current situation is as a result of the recent transport cost increase,” he said.

The Eastern Province received enough rain during the last season and many districts have sufficient food stocks.

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