Uganda: Shortage Hikes Sugar Prices


Consumers now have to weigh what to purchase and leave out on their daily shopping lists as tough times hit hard.

This is so because prices of most commodities have escalated in several parts of the country as a result of shortage in supply.

Sugar, one of the commodities highly consumed, has seen its price increase for the last few weeks by Shs500 on a kilogramme on retail market, a development attributed to shortage of sugarcane in the country.

Speaking to Daily Monitor on Tuesday, the chairperson of Uganda Sugar Manufacturers Association, Mr Jim Kabeho, said the demand for sugar is high yet production is low due to scarcity of sugarcane. This, he said, has led to increases in the price of sugar.

"Increased regional demands for sugar and low production have pushed Uganda's sugar price up because we export 25 per cent of our sugar to countries such as Kenya, Congo, Rwanda, and South Sudan," Mr Kabeho said.

Mr Kabeho said high commodity prices of every item such as Matooke, together with the depreciation of the Shilling against the dollar are the other factors contributing to the surge in sugar prices.

The retail price of sugar, which was at an average of Shs3,500 per kilogramme mid this year now costs between Shs3,800 and Shs4,500 and the wholesale price of 50-kilograme bags of sugar ranges between Shs172,000 and Shs175,000.

Mr Kabeho said Uganda has been producing 500,000 tonnes of sugar a year but due to shortage of the sugarcane this year, production is now below 450,000 tonnes.

"Sugarcane contributes 80 per cent as input for sugar but due many sugar mills in Busoga sub-region, the demand for sugarcane has increased because they are all competing for the sugarcane from the same outgrowers," Mr Kabeho disclosed.

The senior industrial officer in charge of the Sugar Desk at the ministry of Trade, Mr David Kiiza, said the only way to reduce the high prices of sugar is to increase on the availability of sugarcane.

"To solve this problem, we have to ensure availability of sugarcane through stopping poaching by some millers especially in Busoga and also ensure they don't expand their production capacities," Mr Kiiza said.

Other commodities

Information from Infotrade Uganda, a weekly commodity report, highlights: "Prices are going up because of the increased demand as traders are stocking in preparation for the upcoming festive season."

Info trade indicates that the price of Matooke, millet flour, eggs, goat meat, fish, rice and milk has increased.

A bunch of Matooke currently costs Shs24, 900 up from Shs22, 900; a kilogramme of millet flour now costs Shs2,900 up from Shs2,700. A kilogramme of goat meat costs Shs12, 200 up from Shs10, 250; a tray of exotic eggs costs Shs9, 750 up from Shs9, 650 while one has to pay Shs13, 900 to have Nile perch down from Shs10, 550.


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