Did you know that Gakoromone open air market in Meru town, is one of the biggest horticultural market in the East and Central Africa?
KNA crew took a visit to the Market and had an interview with the chairman of the Market, Stanley Bundi, who informs us that the market was started in 1930s at Mwendantu area in Meru.
In 1971 the Market was relocated to Marigiti near the current Meru sewerage and in the year 1975 it was relocated back to Mwendantu again as there was construction work that was going on at Marigiti.
In 1979 the Market was then moved to Juakali area near the current sewerage. Following increase in the number of traders in 1980, it relocated to its current place which is just next to the juakali area.
Bundi told us that from that time the market has been with no sheds until 2013 when retired President Mwai Kibaki, found it necessary to put up sheds in the open air market.
In 2014 after the sheds were constructed, the traders started their businesses in the now refurbished modern open air market.
The Chairman says though they were currently carrying out businesses in sheds where they cannot be rained on or scorched by the sun, the biggest challenge is the prevailing economic hard times with very few customers turning up to buy goods.
“Times are really tough for traders, the business is down despite buying huge stocks to sell, particularly during this festive seasons such as the just ended Christmas holiday.” he said.
According to Bundi, another challenge facing the market is frequent clogging of drainage systems, especially during the rainy seasons.
The Chairman called on the National Government also to ensure that security is tightened at the market with police personnel at Gakorone Police Post.
“We built a police post here to boost security of the market but unfortunately no police officers have been stationed here so far,” adding that this has made traders lose their hard earned cash to muggers.
Roseline Muthoni, a trader at the Gakoromone open air market says that business has been good ever since she joined the market, however, she says, this year started with low key as the business had gone done.
Samuel Muteithia, also a trader says the business has gone down as farm produce such as carrots, potatoes, cabbages and fresh fruits are in plenty in the market but the customers are few.
Rita Njoki, a customer, says she has been always happy and satisfied to do shopping at the Gakoromone market, adding that the market has plenty of fresh farm produce.
“I often shop products like fruits, vegetables and cereals at Gakoromone because they are affordable and fresh from farm” she said
Mercy Kendi, a trader at the open air market, says she expected to earn more last Christmas festive season but unfortunately she adds, the sales are down and very demoralizing tremendously.
“Although many farm produce have been destroyed by the recent heavy rains we are still getting a few” she said, adding that prices have increased, a kilo of tomatoes is selling at Sh.60 up from Sh.40, while carrots are selling a kilo at Sh.50 up from Sh.30.
Despite the many challenges Gakoromone remains the place to go whenever you need fresh farm produce under one roof.
By Muguongo Judy