By Drorence Batenga
The yellow banana is one of the many fruits whose price has increased in the recent past.
Four weeks ago, a piece cost sh300, while a cluster cost between sh2,500 and sh3,000. However, a cluster now costs between sh5,000 and sh6,000.
Traders in different markets attributed the escalating sweet banana prices to a number of factors.
Fred Kajubi, a trader at Kibuye Market, says there is scarcity on the local market occasioned by the regional demand, where they fetch high prices.
Some of the regional markets the bananas are being exported to are Kenya and South Sudan.
Other reasons, Kajubi said are drought in some of the producing areas and poor farming methods.
He said the month of Ramathan is also affecting availability of the bananas on the market and pushing the prices higher because Muslims consume it a lot.
Mama Isma, who operates at Nakasero Market, agrees saying, the Muslims use the sweet bananas to break the fast.
“So, the demand for the banans is high among Muslims,” she says.
Mama Isma also pointed out that since the sweet bananas are not a “harvest and eat” fruit, there is need to exercise patience as the farmer or trader waits for it to ripen before selling it.
“Most of the stock that I have is still raw. It may take about a week before it ripens,” she adds.
Mandela Niwagaba, another trader operating at St. Balikuddembe Market, says the bananas have also been hit by the bacteria wilt in some producing areas like Mbarara and Mbale.
Reduced supply from farmers coupled with high transport costs from up-country to markets in Kampala also discourages traders from investing in the delicacy, according to Niwagaba.