Food availability and cost of staple foods across small food outlets in rural and urban communities in Bugabula County Kamuli District
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The question of access to food has two major components; physical access to food and financial access to food. Prices and availability of food are major consideration for consumers thus affecting their daily nutritional intake and health. This report is an assessment of rural and urban small food stores in Bugabula county Kamuli District with the aim of assessing the availability and cost of selected staple foods across small food stores in rural sub counties and urban. Four sub-counties were selected were selected based on ranges of socioeconomic status (three rural sub-counties and one urban subcounty). Data was collected by observation and using a semistructured questionnaire by interviewing 80 food store operators one at a time. Out of the 80 food stores surveyed, 45% were informal food outlets, 41% were retails, five percent were wholesales and nine percent were collection stores. An availability audit of food portrayed that availability of the selected foods was high in kamuli town food stores. In rural food stores the availability of the selected foods was generally low. In Butansi, Baluwoli and Namasagali sub counties, availability of pumpkins, yoghurt, yams, milk, was substantially low. Food price disparities analyzed using z-score were apparent between urban and village food stores whereby stores in the urban setting had the most expensive food products generally with only five out of 30 food items having prices below the local mean. Baluwoli sub-county offered food products that where less expensive than food items offered in Kamuli town where by 19 out of 30 products listed were below the local mean. Butansi and Namasagali sub-counts offered food products that (16 and 13 out of the 30 products listed respectively) were relatively less expensive than the local average. The data suggests that both price disparity and food availability exist between Kamuli town and the rural sub-counties thus a policy to increase the availability and accessibility of food should be identified such that adequate and affordable diets can be accessed in food stores.