September 25, 2020
By Elizabeth A. Kaine
Market Watch is a column that looks at the prices of commodities and foodstuff in the various markets across the city of Freetown. It seeks the views of traders as well as customers on sales of their goods and price at which the last consumer buys.
In this edition of market watch, Concord Times Elizabeth Kaine interviewed some trader dealing in local foodstuff in Freetown. The traders expressed frustration and disappointment over the low sales and the hike in the prices of local food commodities.
Many who spoke to Concord Times say the said development has seriously affected sales more especially at this particular time of the year.
Congo Market which is located within Brookfield’s is one of the frequently visited markets by consumers on a daily basis.
Alberta Sesay is a petty trader at the Congo market. She observed that increase in the prices of local foodstuff could be linked to the high transportation fare paid by farmers to transport their goods from the provinces to the markets in Freetown.
She called on the government to pay more attention and empower farmers who produce local foodstuff across the country.
She noted that local foodstuff should not be that more expensive than imported ones if only local farmers are provided with the needed support.
Laminatu Kargbo is a petty trader who deals in assorted local foodstuff at Congo Market. She noted that consumers in most cases would want to buy local products like cocoyam, cassava, plantain, banana, yam and sweet potato, but are mostly scared away due to the cost.
Kargbo observed that the above-mentioned local products are mainly consumed during the Month of Ramadan because of their nutritional value, coupled with the fact that they are easier to consume after breaking fast.
“But even with that there is no way we sell it without making profit. The hike in the prices of the said foodstuff is a serious concern to us as most time we incur losses because people cannot easily go in for them due to the price. We cannot sell something that we bought at a very expensive price,” she said.
Mariam Bah is a single parent who deals in fruit and moves about different markets centres across Freetown. She told Concord Times that she has been trading for the past five years.
Bah said despite the snail pace of sales she cannot afford to abandon trading because she has to provide for her children.
Meanwhile, she noted that most petty traders like herself have decided to hawk in the street because they believe that they can reach more customers, while others do so because they are denied access to market facilities and services.