In-depth: A global food crisis

UGANDA: Christine Amony, “Finding food for the whole family is becoming a nightmare”

Christine Amony hawks bananas in Gulu town
GULU, 21 April 2011 (IRIN) - The sudden rise in food and fuel prices in the past four months in Uganda is raising concerns, with residents agitating for the government to intervene and curb the increases.

In Gulu town, a 42-year-old slum dweller, Christine Amony, ekes out a living by selling bananas in Gulu Town Street. She spoke to IRIN about living on one meal a day as she copes with the high cost of living.

“What we are experiencing is a difficult moment. Finding food to put on the table for the whole family is becoming a nightmare. Commodities are unaffordable as prices increase day by day. People in Kony Paco [a slum] are cutting their meals and staying hungry because the money can’t buy adequate food.

“I have four children and we live in Kony Paco. We have one meal of cassava and beans every day in the evening and even then the food isn’t enough.

“There is no breakfast and lunch for my children because I cannot afford to buy food for three meals.

“The prices have increased so much. In October last year, 1kg of sugar cost USh2,300 [US$1] but now it costs USh3,000 [$1.25]; rice is now USh3,000 [$1.25] up from USh1,600 [$0.60], maize USh1,000 [$0.41] from USh300 [$0.12]; flour USh1,700 [$0.70] from USh800 [$0.30], peas USh3,000 [$1.25] from USh1,000 [$0.41], groundnuts USh3,500 [$1.45] from USh2,500 [$1.04], millet USh1,000 [$0.41] from USh800 [$0.30], sorghum USh600 [$0.25], beans USh3,000 [$1.25] from USh1,800 [$0.75], tomatoes USH2,500 [$1.04] from USh1,200 [$0.50], meat USh6,000 [$2.50] from USh5,000 [$2.08].

“Last season the crop harvest was poor because the rain was excessive, causing crops to rot in gardens. Now, fuel prices have gone up. A litre of petrol, which last June cost USh2,800 [$1.16], now costs USh3,800 [$1.58]. Transport fares have also shot up, forcing food vendors to hike up the prices as they recover the costs of transportation.

“I don’t know where we are heading with all this. People are protesting because they are not eating enough. I pray that the first season harvest [April-June] yields enough food so that we have enough to eat. So far the weather is frightening because the rain has been erratic.

“Even house rents have shot up. I don’t know if I will raise the rent of USh20,000 [$8.30] for next month. There is no money even to pay my children’s fees next term.”

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