Traders who moved to the newly constructed Chaka market, are now accusing the government of poor management of the Sh1 billion facility, leading to losses in sales.
The business operators who were shifted into the modern market, capable of holding 1,200 traders, told reporters they were recording losses on a daily basis, saying that majority of buyers have been avoiding the market due to its poor organization, that has also compromised the hygiene of the facility.
They alleged that those who were given the responsibility of allocating the stalls, ended up dishing them to persons who rarely come to open them, while confining the regular traders to the places rarely visited by clients.
The traders are now calling for the handing over of the facility to the County Government and dismantling of the caretaker committee with immediate effect, to salvage them from incurring more losses.
“We thought this market was going to be a game changer in the way we do business after we were relocated from the open air marker, but this is not the case. We have been operating at a loss, as much of our produce get spoiled due to lack of buyers who have been avoiding this market, due to its poor arrangement. For instance, it is not possible to mix charcoal traders with fresh produce sellers and expect buyers to come to you. This is the ineptitude that the planners of this market did when allocating these stalls,” said Felistus Wanjiru, a vegetable dealer.
She is, therefore, urging the National Government, to expedite the process of handing over the market to the county administration, who she believes could do a better job in running the facility.
Wanjiru claims that those who were given the mandate of overseeing the management of the market, left for Nairobi immediately the allocation of stalls was completed. Ju
Her sentiments are echoed by Susan Njoki, trader, who alleges that the only remedy in addressing the challenges affecting them is to hand over the market to the County Government as they were closer to the traders compared to the National Government.
She says since she moved to the area, her fortunes have been dwindling by the day, due to the low number of clients visiting her vegetable stall.
Wanjiru accuses the caretaker committee of doing little to address the challenges dogging the modern market, which was constructed to help the traders who were selling their produce along the Nyeri-Nanyuki road.
On her part, Rose Wanja, trader, laments at the current situation, which she admits may force her to close down and return to where she previously operated from.
Wanja says business was far much better prior to her relocation to the new market.
“There are a myriad of challenges facing this market emanating from its poor management. There is no consistency in the way things are done here, since many traders only open their stalls for two days and remain closed for the rest of the week. Buyers want consistency and any time they fail to see this they move to somewhere else. I am also contemplating relocation to another place where I can operate at a profit,” she told reporters.
Last month, area Legislator, Kanini Kega, said President Uhuru Kenyatta, had directed the traders be moved to the new market before the onset of the rains.
He also announced that both traders and clients would no longer need to seek financial services elsewhere as these would be put under one roof.
Other facilities that were to be included were an industrial area for value addition of farm produce to reduce post-harvest losses and a convenient shop where people could shop for all their household items.
“The facility will also have financial institutions and so traders will not need to go outside to do their financial transactions. They will be getting the services from financial institutions domiciled here,” he said.
“We want to thank the National Government for the funds that they have spent, close to Sh1 billion in the first and second phase, and we are looking forward to the third phase whereby we will have the manufacturing unit,” he added.
And during the recent launch of the construction works at the 67-kilometer Tagwa-Mbiriri-Kimahuri road, Kega said the new road would be a major boost to farmers transporting their fresh produce to the Chaka Market for sale.
He also thanked the National Government for initiating numerous road projects in the area, which he said would spur economic growth in the region famed for its rich agricultural potential in potatoes and cabbages.
“This area is endowed with a rich agricultural potential but our farmers have been selling their produce like cabbages and potatoes at throw away prices. We are, however, grateful to the government for launching this road which will now enable farmers to transport their produce to Chaka market with ease as had been promised by our President when he toured this area,” he pointed out during the event presided over by Transport, Infrastructure, Housing & Urban Development CS, Dr. James Macharia