Saturday, August 29, 2009

Just Not Enough

Just Not Enough

In case you haven't heard the news, there's a milk shortage in Uganda at the moment. In case you (like me) didn't know there was a milk shortage last weekend and went to three supermarkets looking for milk and couldn't find any in the refrigerated section: there is a milk shortage in Uganda at the moment. I'm not always the fastest to put two and two together, so I did not see that no rain=no water for cows to drink=no milk on my supermarket shelves.

From May until now, the price of a liter of milk has almost doubled. I paid 2,100 Uganda shillings for a liter today; that's about a dollar at current exchange rates--perhaps a little more. To put that in perspective, a gallon is roughly 3.8 liters. That means a gallon of milk in Uganda would go for about $3.80. Now, where I'm from in Florida, a gallon of milk is currently going for $2.89. (Just to compare, the per captia income of Uganda for 2008 is estimated to be around $1100, in the US it is estimated to be $47,000.) And it's not like Uganda is one of those countries that doesn't have many cows or where milk is not culturally part of the diet, making milk a rarity and driving up the price. With this rise in the cost of milk, many families cannot afford to provide milk (and those oh, so important vitamins and minerals milk provides) for their children. I really feel for those mothers and fathers who must be struggling. Should the government get involved in order to promote healthy babies and mothers? I mean, the news lately has reported the need of Uganda to better promote the survival of children--with malnutrition being cited as one of the causes of high infant mortality in the country.

Unlike last weekend, I did find milk in the refrigerated aisle today. Milk was there, but purchases were being limited to three liters per person.
Fair enough. Times are tough; let's let everyone get at least some of what they need. I don't need too much, just a bit to put in my muesli in the morning. I bought two liters. Ironically, at the same time there was a sign reminding customers of the milk shortage and limiting us to only three liters, there was a booth to sample 'wet' Weetabix on the same aisle. 'Wet' with milk, that commodity that is scarce these days.
They couldn't allow customers to buy too much milk because of the shortage, yet they could let the milk be used to market a product. Hmmm...


Dave2 said...

On the other hand... free cereal and milk! That almost never happens!

The 27th Comrade said...

The marlketeers may have bought their three litres ... And the wet sample may have been a bit of milk vapour on the cereal ... ;o)

About 3 weeks ago my shopkeeper told me he would not be stocking any more milk for the time being, since nobody would be buying it anyway, at those prices. I'm a trusty buyer, of course, and I could do the prices, but he wasn't going to stock for a few fellas, you see ...

Times is hard. So funny, 'cause in Entebbe there can't be any such thing as a drought, and it always, always, always surprises Entebbe people to learn that World doesn't end at Kajjansi. :o)