Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | There is a drastic drop in demand and price for lemons and ginger across city markets. This stems from a decline in the use of lemons and ginger by residents to boost their immunity in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In December 2020, one required a minimum of Shillings 3000 to buy between three to four lemons and a handful of ginger. A single piece of lemon at that time cost Shillings 1000 after serious negotiations with vendors at Kalerwe, St. Balikudembe and Nakawa markets.
The two were key ingredients in a homemade concoction that is believed to boost immunity and fight off flue. The others are garlic and honey. However, the demand for lemons and ginger has gone down thereby affecting their prices. According to vendors in different city markets, people have learnt to live without the need to use immune boosting foods with vitamin C. The traders also note an increase in the supply of lemon and ginger over the last one month thereby affecting their price.
One can now buy 10-15 lemons at Shillings 1000 while a kilogram of ginger has also reduced from between Shillings 10,000 to 15,000 in November and December to Shillings 3000. Gerald Kayemba, a vendor outside Kalerwe main market says the demand for lemon and ginger is lower compared to November 2020. He says although most of his clients believe lemons and ginger offer high protection against coronavirus, they have now gotten used to leaving without consuming extracts from them.
“I am left with three full sacks of ginger and one for lemon to sell, people are not demanding for lemon-like it was before,” Kayemba said. He now sells 10 lemons for Shillings 1000 and a kilogram of ginger at Shillings 3000. He says there was a huge demand for lemons and ginger when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out and during the nationwide lockdown. He however says this has suddenly changed.
Paul Semakade, a fruit vendor in St. Balikudembe market says that most of his clients for lemon and ginger have stopped demanding for them. He says they have instead resorted to other fruits like mangoes, passion fruits and oranges.
Noah Gombya, a lemon fruit trader at Nakawa market says that he has decided to reduce on his stock for ginger and lemon because of low demand.
Sandra Nalule, a former ginger and lemon consumer at Kisenyi boda boda stage says she has stopped daily consumption of lemon despite being advised by her friends that it can help in the fight against COVID-19. She however admits that lemon has become so cheap compared to the past days.
“Right here you can get lemons at Shillings 100 for the small-sized fruit and the bigger one can go for Shillings 300,” said Nalule. Citrus fruits like lemons are high in vitamin C which boosts one’s immunity.