A report to the Covid-19 pandemic emergency response team has revealed that prices of basic household commodities have gone up while businesses were recording low sales.
The report, tabled by County Executive Committee Member for Trade, Esther Lokwei, also noted that the price of livestock which is the mainstay of most low income population in Turkana had fallen by 25% mostly due to reduced demand and the closure of markets following the need to limit the possibilities of crowding within communities.
“It was noted that sugar, powdered milk, fresh milk, maize flour, wheat flour, cooking oil and rice had changed their retail prices on an upward scale by up to Sh.50. Similar increase was reported on fresh produce where tomatoes, potatoes, cabbages, sukuma wiki and omena recorded a price increase by up to Sh.100,” she said.
“After analyzing market trends in respect to current volume of supply against the data existing before the pandemic over a comparable time frame of one week, we realized that the volume of supplies was dwindling. Before Covid-19, goods worth Sh.6, 306, 000 would be supplied in a week. However, with the pandemic, the cost of goods supplied recorded a 50% decline of Sh.3, 201, 000,” added the Trade CEC.
The report showed that out of 15 markets spread throughout the county, only five were operational. Nine other markets had been temporarily closed with California market in Lodwar town facing permanent closure. As for the operating markets, traders attributed the sharp decline of sales to the closure of eateries and bars whose owners were their most common clients.
With respect to compliance with the provisions of public health, the report showed that traders had positively embraced use of sanitizers as well as handwashing with soap and water to the extent that they are ambassadors of handwashing. Traders were also keen on use of hand gloves and face mask to an extent that some would refuse to sell to anyone compromising the directives.
The report further noted that traders at the fresh produce markets were keen on observing social distancing since a good number of them had used white powder to draw the recommended demarcations for the one metre distance.
By Peter Gitonga