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 1,499,562¹ 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 July 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 could only be obtained in some locations, meaning price updates on commodities such as cassava, dodo, fish, firewood, and charcoal, are based on a limited number of observations. Finally, KIs were purposively sampled, meaning the findings are indicative only. The figures represented in this factsheet are presented at the national and regional2 levels, unless stated otherwise. In total, 206 traders were interviewed nationwide in this round. Of these, 76 were from the Southwest Region (SWR) and 130 were from the West Nile Region (WNR).
• Across regions, prices for key food items in the Minimum Expenditure Basket (MEB) have remained mostly stable.
In the WNR, the price of beans has decreased by 19% since May, from 3,363 UGX to 2,731 UGX. In the SWR the price of millet flour has decreased to its annual average (3,500 UGX). A similar decrease was observed in the WNR.
• The proportion of vendors reporting to accept mobile money decreased to a familiar 46% nationwide. The change from last round is likely due to the switch back to in-person data collection.
• Nationally, 21% of the interviewed vendors reported difficulties in meeting demand. However, this concern is more prevalent among vendors in the WNR (28%) than among those in the SWR (9%).
• In the SWR, 47% of interviewed vendors reported feeling more secure working in the market place, a significant improvement compared to last round.
• In the SWR, 26% of vendors reported a decrease in the number of vendors. The average number of customers went up slightly, from 19 to 21.
• The WFP cash transfer value could cover only 36% of the food MEB (39% in SWR and 34% in WNR).
• The average cost of the food MEB decreased by 2% from June to July 2021 (an increase of 1% in SWR and a 3% decrease in WNR). Overall, the cost of the food MEB in July 2021 was 4% lower than the reference value of March 2021.