Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

Middlemen still take a lion’s share!

May 16, 2007

Though farmers have maximized the use of the mobile phone’s to access market information from various parts of the country via SMS, the middleman still stand’s out and takes a lion’s share.

This was revealed at a recently concluded CELAC knowledge fair, which took place in Luwero district; an event that brought together a number of farmers from various districts who in addition to participating in the various activities, expressed their views about issues that affected them, of which exploitation of middlemen in determining market prices was one of these.

Middlemen are still regarded as exploiters who buy their produce at a lower price and sell at a higher price. Although farmers appreciate the use of mobile phones as gadgets which may perhaps eliminate middlemen as price determinants, farmers still complain that middlemen take advantage of their urgent need for money and cheat them by offering a small fraction of the actual market price for their produce.

With the many problems faced by rural farmers ranging from economic to social problems, dealing with middlemen would not be such a big deal as revealed by a farmer from Sironko district, who is quoted saying “when faced with fees to pay for children returning to school and the ever increasing medical and tax bills, I would rather sell at a lower price than not selling at all”

Other hindrances such as lack of adequate transport to ferry crops from the villages to urban areas where the prices are higher or to any other part of the country where they could fetch a higher price, also contributes to this exploitation by the middlemen.

Contributory to this is the very nature of impassable roads in most rural areas of Uganda. This was expressed by another who could not hide his disgust of the transport system when he said, “having access to a roadside in the village where the transporters collect the produce is another hassle, so how do I take advantage of the good price in a Kampala market when my tomatoes are rotting in my garden? I would rather give them to the middleman who will give me the money instead of losing out completely.” This completely illustrates that rural farmers have no option but to stick to these middlemen for purposes of their survival.

With the assumption that the use of mobile phones as a means of availing market information to farmers, they would be better position negotiate prices for their produce. However such circumstances make them succumb to middlemen who take advantage and buy at very low prices only to sell later or even sometimes instantly at very high prices.

Perhaps the only solution to eliminate middlemen as suggested by farmers would be formation of stronger Farmer’s Associations that will directly deal with farmers’ concerns.

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Farmers enjoying price boom

March 26, 2007

Local markets for agricultural products have not been favourable over this weekend and a couple of weeks ago. If it is the season of shortage, prices have also enjoyed their hike, as consumers gnash their teeth in anguish.

Prices of some items such as tomatoes, onions, passion fruits, and greens particularly our Nakati have gone up by about five hundred shillings compared to what they were last week.

But with this remarkable shortage, traders are enjoying the price boom as price tags for most items go up. This situation spells doom for consumers, who should brace up for difficult moments ahead.

Owino

From UShs: 3000/- last week, the asking price for a measure (read katasa) of tomatoes is now at Ushs: 5000/-. Says one trader, “The season for tomatoes is coming to an end.”

For passion fruits, ten passions instead of the usual fourteen are going for Ushs: 1000/-, meaning that for every three buys, the trader is making one thousand shillings more.

Although increments like these are expected, the quality of some products such as tomatoes, eggplants, green pepper etc is appalling. Most market products are yielding to the dry spell although the Metrological Department in Entebbe forecasts heavy rains in a couple of weeks.

Another factor influencing prices is the cost of fuel. Transporters have hiked their fares thus leaving farmers with no option but extend the burden to consumers.

With the much needed rains on the horizon, consumers have to wait for a while before the situation stabilises.