Lockdown: Mutare decentralises main farm produce market

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By Staff Reporter

THE City of Mutare has decentralised the operations of the giant Sakubva wholesale market to other high-density areas as a measure to decongest the area and help curb the spread of Covid-19.

Sakubva Wholesale market serves farmers from across the province who bring their horticultural produce for sell but it has been also identified as a hotspot for the possible spread of the pandemic as locals normally throng the area to purchase cheap goods.

In a notice to residents, the local authority said new market sites have been opened in Chikanga, Hobhouse and Dangamvura.

The opening of the new markets also follows an outcry by farmers after police confiscated and destroyed their vegetable produce on accusations of contravening government’s lockdown regulations.

Government condemned police action and assured it will compensate the farmers for the losses incurred.

“The move was taken as a need to decongest the Sakubva Musika marketplace and promote social distancing in the time of Covid-19 pandemic and for the convenience of our residents during the lockdown,” reads the notice.

The council said all residents from other suburbs that were not mentioned were free to visit nearest markets of their choice.

Residents interviewed welcomed the move by the local authority to decentralise the operations of Sakubva market saying fresh farm produce was now expensive in their areas due to the lockdown.

“This is a good move because those who had access to fresh farm produce were taking advantage to make a killing. Imagine a small onion was being sold for $10 and a bundle of vegetables for $8 cash,” said a local resident.

Others were now using social media platforms such as WhatsApp to sell their produce pegging their prices in forex for a delivery service.