Scarcity of passion fruits pushes price up

Farmers are the biggest winners following an increment in the prices of passion fruits as a sack of passion fruits now costs Shs600,000 up from Shs300,000 about two months ago in most markets sampled in Kampala.
The increase in prices is attributed to high demand and limited supply from Masaka, Kasese and others that predominately feed most markets in Kampala.
Mr Jimmy Kayembe, a passion fruits trader in Nakasero market says the scarcity has pushed many traders out of business because they can not afford the cost of fruits.
“These prices are abnormal now but we are praying that they normalise next year in January or early February,” Mr Kayemba said.
Most farmers that have been selling passion fruits have now resorted either to oranges or tangerines that can easily be found.
Mr Kayembe says clients who want to purchase in small quantities have to pay Shs6,000 for a kilogramme of passion fruits while others have to pay Shs1,000 for four passion fruits.
Jessica Nalongo Kisakye, another trader in Owino market says they are importing some passion fruits from Kenya to address the demand but that pushes the prices higher for Ugandan customers due to costs of transport and taxes involved.
“Traders who supply us are experiencing shortfalls and even those from Kenya are not enough,” Ms Kisakye says.
Ugandan farmers normally depend on natural conditions to grow fruits and other crops. This means supply is high during some seasons thus affecting farmers’ incomes. During dry seasons, prices of most crops shoot up due to limited supply affecting the buyers.
Mr Okaasai Opolot, the director Crop Resources in the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, says a fruit factory is being set up in Soroti District and expected to begin operating early in 2016. The new factory is expected to check wastage during such seasons as farmers will supply the factory and sell their fruits at good prices.

About passion fruits
Leading producers. Masaka and Kasese districts are the leading producers of passion fruits in Uganda.
Best varieties. These include the purple granadilla variety (locally known as Kasese, Masaka and Kenya varieties) and the highly resistant Kawanda hybrid, developed locally.

ptajuba@ug.nationmedia.com

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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