East Africa: Cattle Traders Stranded As Juba Buyers Stay Away

Cattle traders and farmers in northern Uganda are stranded without market for their animals due to absence of buyers from South Sudan following the fighting there.

Most farmers and dealers who had taken their animals for sale at Arapai cattle market in Soroti District on Thursday went back with their livestock as agents of South Sudan traders failed to show up.

Mr John Abwongot, a local cattle trader from Gweri Sub-county in Soroti District, told Saturday Monitor at Arapai market that besides the absence of Sudanese livestock buyers, many farmers have flooded the market with cattle to get school fees for their children following crop failure due to prolonged drought.

"I have been in this business for 15 years. Normally, sales go down when there is pro-longed drought because most farmers flood the markets with cows," he said.

Mr Aogon Majidu, a cattle trader from Kumi District, said no businessman was buying animals to take to South Sudan because of the war there. He said farmers and traders who were stranded with their cattle at Elegu border sold their animals cheaply or at a loss in order to dispose of the stock.

"We are still counting losses, it is difficult now to load lorries of animals when the situation in Juba remains unclear," he added.

On July 7, fresh fighting broke out between the South Sudan government and rebels of former vice president Riek Machar. About 300 people lost their lives and thousands of refugees are fleeing the country to Uganda to escape the violence.

Drop in prices

Mr Steven Okello, a worker at Arapai cattle market, said a bull which previously cost Shs1m, was now being sold at about Shs700,000.

Source: The Monitor

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