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Covid-19 Stirs Scramble For Lemon, Ginger

HOIMA – Lemon and ginger prices are climbing higher in Hoima as demand soars for the fruits deemed to have immunity-boosting properties against the rampaging novel Coronavirus.

There have been more than 72,679 confirmed cases of Covid-19. The virus has killed more than 680 people, according to the June 19 official statistics from the Ministry of Health.

Interviewed for this story, Annette Murungi, a lemon seller in Hoima Central Market, said demand for lemons in the district has outstripped supply.

She said lemons are bought from Gwedo sub-county in Buliisa District but when the ban on inter-district movement came into effect on June 10, traders in Hoima couldn’t replenish their supplies.

She noted that transporting a sack of lemon from Buliisa to Hoima is too expensive because police officers lean on the Covid-19 restrictions to extort money from traders.

She said one big lemon costs about Shs 2,000 and a small one costs Shs 1,000.

James Murungi, a ginger and garlic trader, said demand for the two has soared.

According to him, ginger and garlic supplies come from Kampala but that stopped after the ban on inter-district movement. He said a cluster of ginger costs Shs 3,000 up from Shs 1000. He added that a cluster of garlic now costs Shs 5,000 up from Shs 2,000.

Julius Ayesiga, the Hoima Central Vendors Association chairman, said the price for a sack of ginger has climbed from Shs 200, 000 to Shs 500,000. He said a sack of lemon has climbed from Shs 60,000 to Shs 300,000.

He added that transporting such produce to the market is very difficult and suppliers who manage to sneak their products into the district end up hiking the prices.

“Prices had to increase since such fruits are not produced in Bunyoro region and the movement from one district to another is not easy yet there is a growing demand from the population,” he said.

Peter Mwesigwa, a resident in Hoima town, said, “I have been using lemons and ginger to boost the immunity of my family but I cannot manage to buy them because I am a low income earner, I tell you lemon fruits are going to remain for the rich families,” he cried out.

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