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Immunity boost: Lemon prices soar in Kasese as Covid-19 spreads

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The price of lemon has shot up across markets in Kasese and Bunyangabu districts. This stemmed from the high demand for lemons by residents to boost their immunity in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Kasese municipality, one needs up to Shillings 2000 to buy between three and four lemons. A small piece of lemon costs Shillings 500 after serious negotiations with the vendors. The case isn’t any different in Rwimi town council in Bunyangabu district which is already battling scarcity of lemon with a peak in demand.

Rose Kemigisha, a vendor outside Kasese main market says the demand for lemon and ginger is high compared to May this year. She says most of her customers believe lemons and ginger offer high protection against coronavirus.

“Even right now, am just left with a few to sell, people are demanding for lemon-like never before,” Kemigisha said. Annet Masiika, a vendor in Mawa market in Nyamwamba division sales a piece of lemon at Shillings 500.

She says prior to the COVID-19 pandemic break out in the country, only a handful of vendors were selling lemons because of low demand. She however says this has suddenly changed because of increased demand for the lemons.

Shafik Bitaijukae, a fruits vendor in Rwimi town council says most of his clients demand that he includes a piece of lemon in their package. David Masereka, a boda boda rider at Kisanyarazi stage says he has started taking lemon daily after being advised by friends that it can help in the fight against Covid-19. According to Masereka, he interacts with various people because of the nature of his work.

He however said lemon has become so costly. “Right here you can’t get lemons, you have to buy them from town and even there they are such expensive for small earners like me,” said Masereka. Dr. James Muliwabyo, the in charge Kasese health centre III says contrary to the common belief, lemons haven’t been scientifically proved to heal Covid-19.

He however says the fruits may limit the duration of the common colds in some people. Citrus fruits like lemons are high in vitamin C, some primary antioxidants that helps protect cells from damaging free radicals.

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