Fresh food vendors count losses in Kabale market

Hundreds of fresh food vendors operating in the newly-constructed Shs23b Kabale Central Market are counting losses because the sunshine that penetrates through the translucent roofs has dried up their commodities.

The section of fresh foods at the new market has about 345 stalls and each stall is operated by one vendor.

The chairperson of the fresh food vendors, Mr Wilson Agaba, at the weekend told voice of kigezi that the affected vendors have opted to use tarpaulins to prevent the direct sunlight from further destroying their businesses.

While we appreciate the Ministry of Local Government and its African Development Bank-funded Markets and Agricultural Trade Improvements Project (MATIP) for constructing Kabale Central Market, the department of fresh foods was poorly designed because the translucent roof intended to provide sufficient light allows in too much sunshine that destroys the fresh foods.

“We have improvised by putting up tarpaulins to stop the sunshine from destroying the commodities, but this has created a conflict between us and the ICT department officials that operate the CCTV cameras.

“They claim that we are obstructing the operations of the cameras. We appeal to the government to remove the translucent roofs so that vendors can operate their business smoothly,” Mr Agaba said.

The most affected fresh foods include tomatoes, green pepper, cabbages, carrots, cornflowers, watermelons, oranges, yellow bananas, and fresh beans.

The mayor of Kabale Municipality, Mr Byamugisha Sentaro, said he had written to the Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Local Government for immediate redress.

“The PS at the Ministry of Local Government has promised to send to us a team of technical staff to evaluate the roofing challenges at the fresh food department of Kabale Central Market and as municipal council political and technical wings, we are waiting for them to solve the raised challenge,” Mr Byamugisha said.

He also said they had instructed Chongqing International Construction, a Chinese company that was contracted to execute the works of the market, to fix the challenges of leaking roofs in the fresh foods department besides working on other defects since they have one year of liability period.

The construction of the market started in December 2019 after the central government secured a loan of Shs23b from the African Development Bank-funded Markets and Agricultural Trade Improvements Project (MATIP) and on January 11, the completed market was handed over to the Ministry of Local Government and Kabale Municipal Council for immediate use.

The market is composed of 345 stalls for fresh food, 494 lockups for shops, 20 bulk stores, 76 matooke pitches, 20 fish shops, 10 chicken cages, 12 kitchen cooking units, 30 toilets, 12 bathrooms, 10 urinals, CCTV cameras, a police station, a public address system, piped water, electricity connection, a parking yard measuring 4,580 metres squared, and firefighting equipment.  It accommodates 1,022 vendors.

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