The price of rice in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, has gone up by 12 per cent, which is a result of sluggish deliveries and demand increases.

Wholesale prices for a 25kg bag of Pakistan and Thailand imported rice rose from Rwf17,000 at the end of June to Rwf19,000 ($23).

The Ministry of Trade blames the price increase on poor inventory management by merchants as demand soars.

“We still depend on imported rice and any disruption to flows is reflected in the price,” said Robert Opirah, the director-general for trade and investment at the Ministry of Commerce.

“When demand is more than what dealers have in stock or orders are delayed, the prices go up. Also, the East African region is yet to recover from the drought last year,” he added. 

“We are buying a kilogramme of Pakistan rice between Rwf1, 000 ($1) and Rwf1,100 up from Rwf900 two weeks ago,” said Marceline Uwumukiza in Gihara centre in Kamonyi District.

Dealers in Kigali expect further increases in the price of rice over the next few weeks.

Official figures show the country spent over $4.97 million (Rwf4.1 billion) on rice imports in the past quarter of 2016 compared with $2.42 million (Rwf2 billion) for the same period in 2015.

In the 2017/18 budget, Finance Minister Claver Gatete announced duty remissions on imported wheat, rice and sugar in a bid to mitigate the short supply.

Wheat grain was granted duty free entry into the country while duty on imported sugar was reduced to 25 per cent. Duty on rice was reduced from 75 per cent to 45 per cent.

However, dealers said they did not expect the reductions to significantly reduce the prices

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