Mubatsi Asinja Habati
Hiked commodity prices have made accessibility of certain essential goods difficult not only to the poor urban folks but also campusers.
Many students at Makerere University now survive on a single meal in a day. " I now spend 1000 Uganda shillings to get my supper yet the quantity has greatly reduced. Previously 600 shillings would enable me get enough food for my appetite" A second year Bachelor of social sciences said.
"We are finished! Many of us cannot afford decent meals given the increased food prices in the country." Fred Kwesiga, a civil engineering student at Makerere lamented.
For the last two months commodity prices have caused so much worry among Ugandan population and university students. Those people hailing from families with little incomes are the most affected by skyrocketing commodity prices.
Consequently, many individuals have had to cut down on their budgets in order to fit in the high cost of living in Urban areas. Many students interviewed said that they now wish that the semester ends in miracle now so that they can go home in an attempt to avoid the soaring effects of price hikes. "At home I hope one can survive touching empty pockets to buy food," Agartha Mukibi, a Mass Comunication student, said.
Makerere's Halls of residence have not been spared by consequences of high food and commodity prices either. Most of the Halls have run short of food supplies; forcing them to change the menu they offer to students.
In University Hall (UH), for instance, residents have spent the whole of this week without taking milk during breakfast and no posho at lunch and supper time.
Circulars announcing the changes and shortages of usual food rations have been displayed at Hall notice boards to alert students on what is going on.
"As you may know commodity prices have increased and we are unable to offer the usual menu. The University adiminstration is trying all it can to procure the required food. Please bear with us;" a circular at all Halls of residence notice boards, from the Dean of Students, read in part.
UH is probably the hardest hit hall by the purging food crisis at Makerere resulting from high market prices. For the last two weeks UH residents have been fed on rice and unfried beans.
The UH warden notified students that they were doing everything possible to avail all food on the menu and asked students to bear with the situation.
Students' leaders requested students to understand that increased food and other ommodity prices was a general problem countrywide and all over the world so they should remain calm as the University is at pains trying to arrest the situation.
Government sponsored non-resident students claimed they are facing it rough with soaring commodity prices especially food.
"The living-out allowances are peanut compared to the current market prices yet we are expected to survive on that same 340,000 Uganda shillings for accommodation and feeding throughout the semester. It is high time government revised this matter." Alice Nakiwala, a student at Faculty of Agriculture, said.
With increased prices of food and other essential goods, students from peasantry background are experiencing hard times in coping up. " Life is going on but not smoothly; and somehow we will survive." Stephen, a tourism student, said when asked his opinion about increased food prices.
Essential goods like soap, all food stuffs, fuel, sugar, and others are incessantly becoming out of access to the poor in urban centres like Kampala as a result of higher prices levied on them. People are calling on government to intervene.
Food prices have more than doubled their normal prices in last six weeks. Experts say the increment is likely to go on for longer. This has sparked off fear of famine as a score of people have died in Karamoja and others have resorted to eating rodents like rats due to lack of foood.