Mahama (Rwanda): exponential rise in food prices

Mahama (Rwanda): exponential rise in food prices

In less than five months, almost all food products have doubled or even tripled in price. Refugees point out that the cash distributions they receive may not even be enough for two weeks when they are meant to cover a whole month, let alone delays. INFO SOS Médias Burundi

Our sources have assessed the prices of basic food products for five months. Refugees are overwhelmed.

“a kg of beans went from between 650 and 800 Rwandan francs to 1100 or even 1300 Frw depending on the quality, 1 kg of bananas and potatoes went from 200 to 400 Frw and 350 to 700 Frw respectively. Products such as sweet potatoes, cassava and vegetables that are not sold by kilo but by the heap have doubled or even tripled in price, as have rice, corn flour and cooking oil. Milk has gone from 250 to 350 Frw for half a liter”, explain Burundian refugees.

Worse still, they say, “no one is buying clothes or pairs of shoes anymore, children are walking around barefoot and almost shirtless.”

Insignificant aid…

At the beginning of last February, the ration quotas were revised upwards for certain refugees. The monthly amount in currency allocated to each refugee in the Mahama camp has increased from 7,000 Frw (7 USD) to 10,000 Frw (10 USD) for the poorest (social category I) and from 3,500 Frw to 5,000 Frw for the other refugees ( Social category II).

The WFP explained this increase of ration for refugees in the Mahama camp by the high cost of living.

“Given the rise in market prices in Mahama camp and its surroundings, WFP has consulted with UNHCR and Minema, the ministry in charge of refugees. The result is the increase in its monthly contribution in currency allocated to each refugee,” the WFP said.

However, although welcomed, the increase does not meet the demand of the market according to the refugees.

“To see the household basket, this sum is not even enough to cover two weeks when it should last 30 days. And if it’s a small family or a single individual, most of the month is not covered, which makes it very hard because the smaller the household, the less aid it receives,” lamented refugees.

The reactions are mixed. Some refugees want the WFP to go back to the old food distribution system to hope to make ends meet for the month, while others recommend an increase in the contributions of humanitarian NGOs in this camp which is growing from day to day with the arrival of Congolese refugees in recent times.

The Mahama camp located further east in Rwanda currently has more than 45,000 refugees, mostly Burundians, the rest being Congolese.

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