Monday, June 17, 2024

Coastal Road Market fish vendors lament daily challenges

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By: Fatou Kebbeh

In The Gambia, fish is a highly consumed seafood consumed by hundreds of families on daily basis, however, people who are engaged in the business of selling fish are mostly women who are now facing unbearable challenges due to the high prices of the fish.

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The Fatu Network engaged some fish vendors at the Coastal Road Market to find out the challenges they are facing as customers continue to blame them for the high prices attached to fish.

The fish vendors blame the high prices of the fish on the fishermen and retailers. They called on the government to intervene and support them.

Narrating her nightmare of selling fish, Mariama Sowe, a vendor, said the fish they are selling normally passes through three (3) stages before it gets to them.

“The fish is now sold to some Senegalese fishermen at a cheap price. They (Senegalese fishermen) also sell it out to some of their colleagues and we will buy it from those men at a very expensive rate.

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“This is not helping us, because most of us depend on this to make ends meet,” she lamented.

According to her, even though fishermen complain about the price of fuel, they should also stop the kind of deal they are doing with the Senegalese.

The fish vendor lamented the struggle some women face at the markets daily.

This, she said, will force them to sell their fish at prices that are not favourable due to the fear of income loss.

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Kumba Cham, another fish vendor said, the struggle to get fish at the riverside is now unbearable and even if they have, it is always very expensive.

According to her, fish is expensive, ice is expensive, fares are expensive, and the women are tired.

“Sometimes we will sell from morning to evening and there will be nothing to take home because of losses, and that is very painful,” Kumba told The Fatu Network.

She added that the price of fish and all other commodities has increased which is affecting both market vendors and consumers because women always bear the burden.

“If the President can hear this, I will be happy because we want him to reduce the price of food items because they are very expensive and the women are tired,” she added.

Awa Bah and Isatou Sonko, who are both fish vendors, narrated similar experiences.

A customer who wants anonymity said she mostly roams the whole market to look for fish at a cheap price because what is given doesn’t always tally with the price.

“Some fish vendors are very kind, sometimes when they see you roaming, they will suspect your problem and then reach out to you, to sell their fish at a price that favours you and not them because they pity you,” she added.

Bintou Badjie, another customer, said the price of fish is so bad and this forces her to always change her plans.

“I mostly change what I want to have that is affordable because the price of fish is always expensive, and if I should remove that from my fish money it will not favour me, so I always change my plan.”

Fish vendors and consumers urged the government to help them with the prices of fish because it is affecting both businessmen and consumers.

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