Uganda: Adjusting to Covid-19 – Stories From Uganda-Don’t Cry Over Spilt Milk

‘Tokabiila maata gayiise’ is a Luganda saying that loosely translates to ‘do not cry over spilt milk’, and encourages people to cut their losses and move on. Salmah Dusman, is one of the businesswomen affected by the COVID – 19 national lockdown in Uganda. Her story is one of resilience and focuses on productivity while forging ahead rather than lamenting over losses.

Salmah’s main source of income is farming which she does with her family at a farm in Kalule, Luweero district about 50Kms from Kampala. Before the pandemic, she planted seven acres of banana and three acres of sweet potatoes, beans and vegetables. The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns saw her dedicate even more time to her farm than previously.

She admits things were working out fine until government banned the use of public transport which forced her to finding other means to collect food in order to continue to supply produce from the farm to the trading centers and individual households that place orders. Salmah started to experience challenges when her clients began to delay payment for deliveries.

“The delays made it difficult for me to travel to the farm frequently. As a result, a lot of food would get ripe and go bad before taking them to markets. This forced me to sell the farm produce at a very low price”

Many farmers in Uganda continue to struggle from the effects of produce price falls especially bananas or matoke, which is one of the staple foods in Uganda. At one point a bunch sold for less than $1 while it used to retail at $ 7 – 10 before the crisis.