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Uganda: Market Monitor - Refugee Hosting Areas | Refugee Settlement Price and Market Functionality Snapshot, 1-31 August 2021

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REACH
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OVERVIEW AND METHODOLOGY

Uganda is one of the top refugee-hosting countries in the world, with a protracted refugee situation and ongoing influxes of refugees from neighboring countries. The country hosts 1,499,562 refugees as of 25 August 2021, with nearly 95% of refugees living in settlements primarily in the West Nile and Southwest regions of Uganda.

In view of this situation, the World Food Programme (WFP) has established a regular market price monitoring system across refugee settlements to inform cash-based response approaches. These monitoring efforts predate the COVID-19 crisis. However, due to the changing situation and ongoing COVID-19 containment measures, there is a risk that markets could be significantly affected and beneficiaries receiving cash assistance may not be able to access critical goods. In response, with the technical support of the Market Analysis Task Force and REACH in particular, this market price monitoring system has been expanded to capture crucial information to understand the impact of COVID-19 on commodity prices and functionality of markets in refugee communities across Uganda.

WFP collected the data through key informant (KI) interviews with traders, individuals selling key commodities, in markets across 13 refugee settlement locations from 1-31 August 2021. Part of the data was collected remotely, using the mobile Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping (mVAM) phone-based survey system. Data for sold loose items was collected in person with items purchased and weighted where possible.

Finally, KIs were purposively sampled, meaning the findings are indicative only. The figures represented in this factsheet are presented at the national and regional levels, unless stated otherwise. In total, 180 traders were interviewed nationwide in this round. Of these, 79 were from the Southwest Region (SWR) and 101 were from the West Nile Region (WNR).

KEY FINDINGS

Average cost of the full MEB in August 2021: 414,534 UGX

-6% compared to the full MEB March 2021

Average cost of the food MEB in August 2021: 256,811 UGX

-7% compared to the food MEB March 2021.

  • Across regions, prices for key food items in the Minimum Expenditure Basket (MEB) have remained mostly stable. Since May, the price of beans in the WNR has decreased by 27% from 3,363 to 2,468 UGX. The price of 1 liter of milk has increased by 33% from 1,364 UGX to 1,821 UGX since May.

  • More than half (52%) of the interviewed vendors reported accepting mobile money payments across the country. In the WNR, this proportion increased from 33% to 44% since July.

  • Nationally, 18% of the interviewed vendors reported difficulties in meeting demand. However, in the SWR only 13% of the vendors reported difficulties, while in the WNR the proportion was much higher (23%).

  • While 82% of traders nationwide reported no difficulties in meeting demand, 12% expressed concerns about running out of stock within one week. This percentage was slightly higher in the WNR (13%) compared to SWR where 10% of traders expressed this concern.

  • The market price of the WFP GFA food basket decreased marginally by 2% from July to August 2021. Overall, the WFP cash transfer value was enough to meet the cost of the food basket in all the settlements except in Palabek.

  • The average cost of the food MEB decreased by 4% from July to August 2021. Overall, the cost of the food MEB in August 2021 was 7% lower than the reference value of March 2021. By August 2021, the WFP cash transfer value could cover only 37% of the food MEB (39% in SWR and 36% in WNR).

KEY CHALLENGES

Top 3 challenges reported by traders:

1 Lack of customers 53%
2 Price fluctuation of commodities 41%
3 Lack of cash to purchase more stock 26%