The government of Rwanda has revealed that the problem of rain shortage in some parts of the country and the region has resulted in poor harvests and food shortage on market, leading to high food prices.
When IGIHE visited various markets of Kigali recently to witness the state of food prices especially in Nyabugogo (Kwa Mutangana) and Nyarugenge market, it was established that a kilogram of Irish potatoes goes for Rwf 300 to 350, rice between Rwf 800 -1000, banana was Rwf 300 ,a kilogram of beans cost between Rwf 600-800, cassava flour was between Rwf 500-800 while sweet potatoes was Rwf 250.
The National Institute of Statistics recently announced food price increment at a percentage of 7.8 % between July 2015 and 2016, with city prices affected by 6.4% in August 2016 compared to similar period last year in 2015, whereas prices in rural areas increased by 8.1%.
In a press briefing yesterday, the Minister of Industry, Trade and East African Community (MINEACOM), François Kanimba said that price increase worries the government.
“I would like to tell you the truth that the matter is serious. It is not serious for Rwanda only but extends to the whole region. It is mainly related to unusual drought in the region that affected yields in agricultural sector,” he said.
Kanimba explained that it is impossible to do miracles when agricultural yields become inadequate compared to citizens needed food as it results into price increase.
Rwanda can neither import from regional countries as they were too affected by the drought.
“In the past, Rwanda would face shortage of Irish potatoes between July and October and import from Uganda; but even Uganda faced shortage of potatoes this year so could not export to Rwanda,” he said.
Another reason of price increase rose from inflation from 6-7% over the past two years which affected price of imports.
“We faced problems related to instability of international market for minerals, coffee and tea; prices fell and so the balance of trade deficit was experienced,” he said.