Tomatoes, vegetables push inflation to 3.6%

Peter 4th Jun, 2024 Economy Pedson Mumbere
Tomatoes, vegetables push inflation to 3.6%

The price of tomatoes has has been rising due to low production in various parts of the country.

The escalating prices of tomatoes and fresh vegetables have been the primary drivers behind the rise in headline inflation rate in May.

According to the latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) report by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS), covering the 12-month period up to May, the annual inflation figure rose to 3.6 percent, marking a notable increase from the 3.2 percent recorded in April.

Specifically, tomato prices surged by 19.5 percent during the year ending May 2024, a stark contrast to the 3.4 percent increase observed in April. Similarly, fresh vegetable prices spiked by 13.5 percent over the same period, significantly higher than the 1.6 percent recorded in the previous month.

  • Officials told journalists at a press briefing that the two commodities contributed to the overall increase in annual food crop and related items inflation, which improved to minus 1.4 percent from the minus 2.4 percent reported in April.

Energy, Fuel and Utilities (EFU) inflation climbed to 9.5 percent for May, driven by significant hikes in charcoal, firewood, petrol, and diesel prices.

Edgar Niyimpa, the principal statistician at UBOS, stated that the rise in core inflation to 3.7 percent from 3.5 percent was also primarily fueled by the rising costs of road passenger transport and restaurant meals.

  • Geographically, Jinja reported the highest inflation rate at 5.1 percent over the past 12 months, attributed to a surge in annual food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation.

Jinja was followed by Kampala's high-income segment at 4.6 percent, while the middle-income sector in Kampala recorded the lowest rate at 2.0 percent.

This was primarily influenced by lower monthly increments in other goods and food crops, including vegetables, tubers, plantains, and cooking bananas.

Specific decreases were noted in cooking banana, onion, pineapple, and passion fruit prices in May compared to April. Diesel prices also saw a slight decrease, standing at 1.3 percent in May compared to a 1.4 percent increase in April 2024.

Mary Asimwe, a business woman dealing in tomatoes and other vegetables at Ntinda Market in Kampala, said that a box of tomatoes that was going for between UGX260,000 - UGX280,000 in February 2024, now costs between UGX380, 000 and UGX420 000.

  • Apart from increased demand, tomato farmers have also struggled with the dry weather in some parts of the country during the past three months, which has created low production, hence high prices, she added.

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