By Stella Nassuna
For traders and consumers, 2013, they say, is a miracle year. Reason? It has changed the long-known history of price trends on various market commodities.
In the past, December, January and February have been popular for soaring prices. This year though, the trend has changed with especially rice, groundnuts, maize flour and oranges.
Munene Emmauel, who sells groundnuts at Kibuye market, says that just around the months of December 2010, and January 2011, the price of groundnut grains cost sh4,000 and milled or paste groundnuts cost sh4,500.
But since December 2012, the price of groundnuts has significantly dropped to between sh3,000 and sh3,500, and the milled type costs shs4,000.
And you could say the same for maize flour. Normally, during the time of school reopening – late January and early February – prices often escalate from sh1800 to sh2500 or even higher.
But Sarah Musasizi, a dry food trader at Nakawa market says that in 2013 the prices stayed put against the expected usual rise.expecteddid not go up as expected in 2013. The price has since December persisted at between sh1800 sh000.
The price of rice has kept low since December. A kilo of Super rice averagely sells at 3,500. If you are lucky, you’ll pay as low as sh3,000 but if you are stretched, you’ll part with 3,500. Another type of rice, Kayiso, sells at sh2500 and Pakistani at shs3000 – shs3500. Looking back at the 2012 prices of rice, this year should leave a smile on your face.
Daniel Katubeho sells dry food at St Balikuddembe market [Owino] and his trading experience is not far from different.
He recalls that in the first three months of last year, the price of Super rice soared at between sh3,800 and sh4,000, Kayiso sold at sh2,800 – sh3,000, and Pakistani rice kept high somewhere between sh3600 and sh3800.
Why kept low?
Traders link the low persistent 2013 commodity prices to the rains of December 2012 early this year in January.
Most farmers had a good harvest with a resultant increase in supply of market commodities. With the surplus, prices dropped and have kept low there.
Another vendor at Nakasero market explains that the volume of imports has reduced due a wealthy supply from the producing areas in Uganda.
“Only the yellow beans supply to the market was in short of the customer’s demands, and more supply had to come in from Tanzania to meet this demand,” he says.
According to Khalid Muwembe, the meteorology department’s public relations manager, due to climatic changes, the extended rainy season often happens after experiencing a prolonged dry season.
But he says that it is something that happens after every five to ten years. The last time we experienced this was half a decade ago – in 2008.
The meteorology spokesperson explains that usually, climatic change is not a good sign, but that in this year’s case, it is a blessing in disguise.
According to the March to May 2013 rainfall forecast report, brace yourself for rainy days.
To keep on guard, Muwembe advices that farmers should clear their gardens and plant long maturing crops like millet and pastures for cattle.
“If farmers follow this through, it will help continue the low prices cycle on various commodities within the market,” he predicts.