Pumpkins are widely consumed in Uganda as a side dish, hence demand for the fruit is high. A long dry spell which has persisted in most parts of Uganda has led to crop failure and an increase in pumpkin prices.
The crop has become a source of income that has helped boost the country's agricultural economy. However, farmers and traders have reported an acute shortage of pumpkins, which they attribute due to the long dry season experienced in April and May. This hindered many farmers from growing the crop.
Fauza Nabukeera, who buys pumpkins at farm gate and for sale to retailers and individual customers in Mukono Central Market, says the prices started going up in late June.
"Between May and early June, many farmers had a lot of pumpkins and we were buying them at a farm gate price of Shs500 for a small one and Shs1,000-Shs1,200 for a big one," she says.
"As traders we were selling a small one at Shs1,500 and between Shs2,000 and Shs3,000 for a big one."
However, Nabukeera explains, from last month (July), there was a short supply of pumpkins on the market leading to a drastic escalation of prices.
So, they were buying a small pumpkin at a farm gate price of Shs1,500 and a big one at Shs2,000-Shs3,000.
Traders now sell a small pumpkin at Shs2,500-Shs3,000 and a big one at Shs5,000-Shs6,000. In some cases, she says they sell a big one at Shs8,000.
Another trader in St Balikuddembe market in Kampala, Sam Kalenzi, says he sells a big pumpkin at Shs7,000--which is up from Shs4,000 in the month of June--and for a medium size at Shs4,000--up from Shs2,000.
However, the projection is that with many farmers growing pumpkins, which are likely to mature between October and November, the prices are likely to fall in that period.