Food prices have reduced ahead of Christmas, raising hopes that many families will be able to afford a decent meal this festive season. The late, low rains looked set to reduce food supplies, which would have seen prices surge.
A survey in Kigali markets showed prices of basic foods such as meat, maize and cassava flour, Irish potatoes, green bananas, beans, peas and rice have reduced.
A kilo of beef was going for about Rwf2,000 ($2.34), a kilo of Irish potatoes was selling for Rwf160 ($0.19), a kilo of maize and cassava flour cost between Rwf500 ($0.58) and Rwf800 ($0.94) depending on the quality while green bananas sold for Rwf300 ($0.35) a kilogram.
Beans and peas were selling for Rwf500 ($0.58) a kilo, sugar and rice at Rwf850 a kilo each while a loaf of bread cost Rwf600, and Rwf300 for a litre of milk.
However, the cost of cooking gas and charcoal has recently gone up.
A bag of charcoal currently costs Rwf8,000 and Rwf8,500 from about Rwf6,500 and Rwf7,000 in October while cooking gas recently rose to Rwf1,050 a kilo. The price of Irish potatoes reduced from between Rwf180 and Rwf220 in the past two months to Rwf150 a kilo at retail shops in Kigali.
Prices of peas and green beans reduced by almost half, from between Rwf800 to Rwf1,000 in October to Rwf500 a kilo.
Vegetables are also among key commodities whose prices have eased.
However, products like fruits, green bananas, maize and cassava flour have remained in relatively short supply. A kilo of green bananas now sells at Rwf300 a kilo, an increase from Rwf200 in August and Rwf180 in October. The price of a kilo of cassava or maize flour barely reduced from between Rwf500 and Rwf800.
Traders expect prices of some products to continue reducing in price as the harvesting season matures.
“The produce that is transported from upcountry or sourced from neighbouring countries, will likely remain costly because of the huge transport costs incurred,” said Sylvain Benimana, a trader.
According to figures from the National Institute of Statistics, the country’s overall inflation rose to 2.2 per cent in November, a decrease from 3.6 per cent recorded in October.
The National Institute of Statistics which attributes the change to the rise in the cost of food and non-alcoholic beverages.
The cost of housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels also rose by two per cent while transport costs rose by 2.9 per cent.
The data also shows that while the prices of local goods decreased by 1.7 per cent, the cost of imported products increased by 0.5 per cent. Prices of fresh products particularly decreased by 6.4 per cent.