The New Times talked to various food retailers in markets of Gikondo, Nyabugogo and Huye, Southern province, expressed concerns on rising food prices. Prices for foodstuff like beans and peas have doubled to over Rfw1000 a kilo from Rwf600-800 in a period of five months.
Fifty-year-old Immaculee, a retailer at Gikondo market, said that she has been selling foodstuff for over 25 years. According to her, agricultural produce has in recent weeks gone up in regards to cost. “The rain is too much and inconsistent. I am now selling 1 kg of beans at Rwf1100 and I remember it costing Rwf500 early this year,” she said.
Among other reasons, she blames “excessive” rains that have destroyed crops and left farmers barehanded and thus the markets. Alphonsine Yandereye, a grocer in Huye market, told The New Times that she now barely sells groceries in kilogrammes as clients prefer smaller more afforable quantities.
“We used to sell a kilo of onions at Rwf800 and two pieces of bell pepper at Rwf100, but not anymore. A kilo of onions is now Rwf1400 and a piece of bell pepper at Rwf100. Clients chose to buy pieces because they are more affordable,” she said.
For some products, sellers claim that the prices are supposed to fall by the end of year to ease consumption in festive seasons. A potatoes’ shop owner in Nyabugogo market, who chose to remain anonymous told The New Times that potatoes are supposed to hit their lowest prices in October and November. But instead of costing between Rwf150-270, they now cost Rwf300 and above. Consumers say that they have also taken to substituting consumables to accommodate the price hikes.
“I have children who just joined the family from school and I realised that I need to readjust the quantities of vegetables or meat (meat price rose from Rwf1800 to Rwf2800) to take into account new prices. We now eat more rice and bananas that are relatively cheap,” said one of Gikondo market goer.
Rwanda has been experiencing heavy rains over the last couple of months. The New Times reached out to concerned authorities about what are the plans for affected farmers, but they had not replied by press time.