Joel Cherope, a young farmer from Kapchorwa in eastern Uganda had four tons of cabbage, and the best market was hundreds of miles away in Sudan. It took him a week to get to Sudan instead of the usual 24 hours because the vehicle he hired was barely functional and the roads were in bad repair. By the time he arrived at the border crossing, half the cabbages had been squashed, yet he still had to pay a high importation tax.
If the roads had been tarmacked and the vehicle in good condition — or better still air cargo available to ship the cabbages — it would have taken this young man one day or less to get to Sudan, and he could have earned a decent return on his months spent in the field. Instead, as he drove across the country he could do nothing but watch with growing frustration as the entire season’s profits were lost along with the cabbages in the back of his truck.