The bad state of roads in Karamoja is hurting trade in the sub-region, businessmen have complained. The 208km Soroti-Lokitanyala murram road is riddled with potholes
By Daniel Edyegu
The bad state of roads in Karamoja is hurting trade in the sub-region, businessmen have complained.
The 208km Soroti-Lokitanyala murram road is riddled with potholes, which make it difficult for vehicles to ply the route. This has been aggravated by the torrential rains.
The 4km stretch from Nakicumet parish in Lorenchora sub-county, Napak district has been flooded, rendering the route impassable. Along the Nakapiripirit route, the worst damaged section is the Muyembe-Namalu stretch.
Agnes Namutosi, a trader in agricultural produce from Sironko district, said the poor state of roads has mainly affected those who trade in fresh agricultural products.
Namutosi, who buys onions and matooke from Bugisu for sale in Moroto town, said besides escalating the cost of trade, the poor road network creates delays in the delivery of the produce to the markets. “Being perishable products, swift delivery to the market is required,” she said.
“Our trucks get stuck and we end up spending nights on the way.” Namutosi explained that traders are often forced to offload produce from the vehicles that get stuck, and the frequent off loading and loading damages the goods.
“Since heavy rains started in May, it has been difficult for us to earn from this trade because sometimes all the goods get damaged before reaching the markets,” Namutosi said.
Hassan Sentamu from the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) said the flooding of the road is caused by spillover waters from Arecek dam in Napak district.
Although communities across the vast semi-arid Karamoja region are gradually adapting to kitchen gardens, the yields from these gardens are low. Because of this, most of the districts in the sub-region rely on Bugisu region for vegetables and fresh foods.
Festo Tebanyang, the Nakapiripirit town council chairman, said the bad state of the roads has created shortage of basic commodities.
He added that prices of basic items in the district are soaring. “Ordinarily, a journey from Nakapiripirit to Mbale is supposed to take two hours at most when the road is not flooded. But now, it takes seven hours,” Lomonyang said.
Bad roads disrupt trade in Karamoja