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Kigali: Fresh Food traders lament losses as lockdown measures continue to destabilize consumers’ economy

Food market, Rwanda. The Photo was taken before COVID 19 erupted /PHOTO INTERNET

By: Isabella Iradukunda Elisabeth

Some traders in markets around Kigali City claim that they have suffered losses due to the fact that the city of Kigali has been again placed under total Lockdown as cases of COVID 19 patients continue to surge, TOP AFRICA NEWS has learnt from onsite sources.

Alice U., a fruits and other agricultural products seller in Gakiriro Market, says that she had already bought merchandises but new Lockdown instructions found her at home in another sector so that she can’t get to her usual place of work because cars or other means of transport to different parts of city are prohibited.

Although the government said the agribusiness could continue and other essential services to operate, it was not immediately clear how small traders who always travel from one site to another get to their workplace since such movements are not allowed.

They say that next time when deciding on lockdown measures, some circumstances be carefully considered and taken into account so that no one loses.

Wholesalers are not getting customers

Unlike when Lockdown was first announced, people were rushing to buy a variety of food and store them at home, but now that is not the case.

Our reporter was able to travel to different parts of the Gikondo market, where traders revealed that at the moment the city of Kigali is in Lockdown, those who come to buy food are very few compared to the past when the first lockdown was announced.

TOP AFRICA NEWS reporter spoke to some of the food/fruits vendors as some of the services allowed to operate in these times in Kicukiro district in a market known as Gikondo market, they said that although they are allowed to sell their products but the buyers are very few these days.

They also say that just as consumers are not buying as in previous times, so too are vegetable products that rot and are thrown away which is causing them losses.

This is largely due to the fact that access to the market is difficult for some and working on rotational conditions also are affecting the business. All the measures are there to prevent the spread of the Corona virus which has reached an alarming level especially in the city of Kigali.

The effects of the first Lockdown continue to destabilize the economy

“Buyers don’t have any money, people don’t have the money right now. The buyers we see are few,” said one trader, who did not want to be named in this report.

“The first lockdown is very different from the current one because the first time we went to Lockdown they had money, they bought what they were going to stock at home but now it is not possible because the economy is in turmoil,” she said.

She added that for the first time, people ate without care because they still had money and they knew that their work would continue normally.

 “It simply came to our notice then that some of the parents had used the money in preparation for taking the children to school which was ready to start on January 18 and now postponed due to the prevention of the spread of the CoronaVirus,” she said.

Although some residents have started to show a lack of resources such as a lack of sustenance for their families, the Rwandan government says it is ready to help those who have less resources than others and they are being provided with food these days in Lockdown while their jobs are stagnant.

Prof.  Shyaka Anastase, Minister of Local Government, explains that the poorest will be given food like the Government did in the past.

 He explains that no one should be starved to death and that instead of fearing famine only, they should also fear the Corona Virus which is threatening the world and that even though the city of Kigali is the one in Lockdown, others in other provinces should also not be complacent and violate prevention measure because the epidemic exists and kills people of all walks of life young and old.


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