Food prices soar at landing site over floods

Friday January 17 2020

Last resort. People use boats to cross the

Last resort. People use boats to cross the flooded section of Kyotera-Kasensero road in Kyotera District on Wednesday. PHOTO BY JOSEPH MUGUMYA 


Floods, which cut off Kyotera-Kasensero road in Kyotera District, have left traders stranded, causing a spike in prices of basic commodities at Kasensero Landing Site.

Currently, motorists cannot connect to the landing site after water submerged the main bridge at Bukoola swamp, completely cutting off the area.

This has seen prices of bananas, cassava, beer, soda and other commodities go up as traders incur more costs to transport them to the landing site. The traders use Ddimo and Malembo landing sites, which are located about 80kms, to get to Kasensero Landing Site.

A bunch of matooke at Kasensero currently goes for Shs35,000 compared to Shs15,000 two months ago. A bottle of beer, which was buying at Shs3,000, currently costs Shs4,000 .

Mr Peter Kaali, a fisherman, said due to the poor state of the road, more than 20 fish trucks have failed to access the landing site.

“This has forced fish traders to stop buying fish, causing us huge losses. Those with money transport their fish on water through Ddimo and Malembo landing sites,” Mr Kaali said on Wednesday. Mr Samuel Ssekimpi, a transporter, said the road has been impassable since the commencement of the rainy season in October.


The situation worsened in mid-December when water levels in River Kagera increased.
“Although the rains have decreased in the past two weeks, the water levels have not receded and the road is in a non-motorable state,” he said.

To cross the flood section of the road, residents either use canoes or risk wading through rapid flood water on their own. Mr Rogers Mukiibi, a taxi driver, said the poor state of the road has forced them to increase the fares from Kyapa junction to the submerged bridge from Shs4,000 to Shs10,000.

“Currently, only a tractor can pass through the flooded section of the road,” he said.
This is the second time in less than a year the road connecting to Kasensero Landing Site has been cut off by floods, the last time being last June.

Mr Charles Njuba, the district vice chairperson, blames the situation on shoddy work done by a previous contractor procured by the Uganda National Roads Authority (Unra).

“Ever since engineers were instructed to repair this road, it has not improved. Uganda National Roads Authority employees have many questions to answer,” he added.

The Unra station manager in Masaka, Mr Henry Komaketch, said they are aware of the problem and a team of engineers will soon be dispatched to assess the extent of the damage.