Museveni cassava talk drives up prices in Busoga

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The price of cassava and [cassava] Flour boomed in Busoga sub-region following President Museveni’s advice to Ugandans to eat cassava as an alternative to bread, the price of which has risen due to disruptions in wheat supply.

The president made the proclamation on May Day, as he addressed senior government officials, security officers and labor representatives, among other Ugandans who gathered at the ceremonial grounds of Kololo to celebrate Labor Day.

As Mr. Museveni appeared to dash the hopes of many vulnerable citizens who still relied on his government to initiate short-term interventions to protect them from soaring commodity prices, farmers hailed the president for the speech that saw the prices of raw materials cassava and cassava flour rise over the past week.

Mr. Ayub Kitamirike, Chairman of Amber Court Market in Jinja City, said that in the aftermath of President Museveni’s advice [to Ugandans to eat cassava]its price has increased.

“Before Museveni addressed Ugandans on Labor Day, a bag of cassava cost 80,000 shillings; however, after his speech it went to Shs 120,000 and is now going to Shs 130,000 as I speak,” Mr Kitamirike said, adding that anyone who currently owns a cassava garden is sitting on a “mine of gold “.

Mr. Booza Waiswa, a boda boda rider and resident of Danida village in Danida-Masese, Jinja South Division, said he used to buy one kilogram of cassava flour for his family at the market in Kazimingi at 1,300 Shs, but that too has gone up. at Shs1,700.

In Kamuli district, Mr. Herbert Ntende, a resident of Kasolwe and supplier of fresh cassava to Iganga and Tirinyi among other destinations, said that from the moment the President urged Ugandans to eat cassava, it is became their distributor, which saw its supply increase from five to 12 sachets per day.

According to Mr. Ntende, nowadays passengers along the Iganga-Mbale highway stop and ask for “two Museveni diets”, i.e. two pieces of roasted cassava and it has since become a trade name for cassava sellers.

Mr. Ntende, who grows cassava on a large scale and has bought two Tuku tukus from the crop which he uses to carry sacks of cassava for sale, is grateful to Mr. Museveni for his “wake-up call”, which saw the price increases by 15 percent and the demand doubles.

Mr. Richard Musenero, Production Manager of Kamuli District, says cassava is an all-time food and cash crop. “Farmers along the livestock corridor in Kamuli and Buyende use cassava for multiple roles as food, starch, waragi brew [local potent gin] and lately cassava chips,” he added.

According to Musenero, once farmers add value to cassava, it will be more profitable than maize and sugarcane.

Ms. Florence Nakaima, known as Mom Katogo in Kamuli, says every night she boils two pots full of cassava katogo [mixture with beans] and sells it to KBS Stage Radio, Mulago Hospital and Barracks for only Shs500, but considers raising the price due to increased demand.

Mr. Hussein Mitala Hussein, Chairman of Kamuli Primary School Heads Association, hailed cassava to support PSU students, saying it was roasted at night and carried to school as packed lunch.

“Cassava is an easy lunch box for students in schools and children carry it, share it with friends and drink the water from the borehole and lunch is done,” he said.

In Namutumba district, Ms. Masitula Nabirye, a raw cassava seller at Namutumba central market, said the price of cassava has risen from Shs 2,000 to Shs 3,000 per heap. “Cassava prices are rising every day because its demand is high,” she said.

Mrs. Grace Mulage, another cassava seller in the same market, said she had been selling cassava for ten years, but the prices had never been as high as they are today. “After maize flour prices rose to Shs 3,000 per kilogram, people started eating cassava [flour] as a replacement,” she said.

Mr Waiswa Magambo, who sells cassava flour, said last month that a kilogram cost Shs1,200 but is currently Shs1,900.

While cassava vendors hail Mr. Museveni for the windfall, Mr. Jafari Bwanika, who operates a store at the Namutumba town council, said the bread was shunned.

“Very few customers buy bread when its prices do not change. The bread trade could become seasonal and we will only see people buying it on Eid, Easter and Christmas days,” he said.

Namutumba District Production Secretary Ms Annet Neka, who is also the councilor representing Nawaikona sub-county, said Museveni’s speech will be a wake-up call for locals who had long shunned cultivation. cassava.

“For many years, farmers did not grow cassava on a large scale, but only planted groundnuts and rice; maybe that will change after the president’s Labor Day speech,” she said.

Additional reporting by Ronald Seebe

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