Traders at Kisumu’s Jubilee market have made massive losses following transport delays at the Kenya-Uganda border as a result of stringent COVID-19 guidelines. The traders, who rely mostly on food and fruits imported from Uganda, yesterday said they had to wait four days to get supplies of vegetables, fruits and eggs from the neighbouring country.
Sharon Atieno, a fruit vendor, said for the past two weeks they had disposed of one tonne of watermelons after the fruits started rotting. Ms Akinyi said half of the two tonnes she usually got from Uganda went bad as the trucks carrying them took too long at the border. She said before the pandemic, she could go across the border to get the watermelons.
“We used to go for them ourselves, but now we are forced to send people. Unfortunately they are being harassed at the border and have to wait at least four days to cross, hence the delay,” said the vendor. Because of the delay, Akinyi said, she was forced to reduce the price of her remaining watermelons.
George Rangudi hired a truck to ferry goods from Uganda, but his experience at Malaba was draining. Rangudi said he was forced to stay in the truck for four days before he could cross the border. The long wait for COVID test results, which takes up to four days, was frustrating.
“When you go to Uganda you are asked to stay in the truck and it can take four days before you get to the other side,” he said. Rangudi said he barely got a profit and urged President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene and cushion them from the losses.