“I sell fruits but I have not seen a Ugandan apple before and people prefer the ones we import."
(Credit: Ruth Nanfuka)
Apples are one of the highly demanded fruits on the market.
On the Ugandan market, most of the apples are imported from Egypt and South Africa.
Traders might find it risky to stock local apples for fear they will not be bought.
"I sell fruits but I have not seen a Ugandan apple before and people prefer the ones we import," says Betty Nakityo, a fruit seller at Nakasero Market.
She says although the dollar prices and season determine the prices of the apples on the market, they still stock them because people will demand.
The prices are scaled according to their colour. For pink-red apples, which are currently off-season, a box costs sh160, 000 for the trader but when it's on-season, it drops to between sh140, 000 and sh130, 000.
The green apples are also off-season and a box is now at sh140, 000 while on-season, they can reduce to sh120, 000.
One apples costs sh1, 000 in most markets, on streets and taxi parks.
Meanwhile apples thrive in Kabale district due to the temperate climates there. However they are also grown in other areas like West Nile.
"Apples are fit for temperate lands yet Uganda is in the tropics where there are diseases like the fruit rot that are not found in the temperate," says Patrick Kaweesa, a fruit farmer in Kayunga.
He says if you have land, you can grow apples but not all soils will support their growth. Apples prefer well-drained soils which will not dry up to cause them to wither.
Also, the apples grown in Uganda rarely grow big.
Kaweesa says just like him, many farmers keep away from growing apples and concentrate on other fruits like pineapples, watermelon and pawpaws which will not demand much from them.
George Wasswa, a buyer, told New Vision that imported apples are tastier than the local ones, adding that local apples have a tendency of rotting easily.
Kaweesa sayd: "What is more painful is that traders on the local market have not done enough to support the apple farmers and instead import from other countries."
He therefore calls upon research groups to work hard and find something that can be done to make Ugandan apples better and be able to compete well on the international market so that people like him can also engage in their production.