Hard times as food supply chain suffer disruption

Wednesday August 26 2020

markets

The recent rise in Covid-19 cases is largely attributed to failure to adhere to social distancing rules and hand washing, particularly in public areas such as food markets.. Photo: Cyril Ndegeya  

JOHNSON KANAMUGIRE
By JOHNSON KANAMUGIRE
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Kigali city residents will soon dig deeper into their pockets to put food on the table after closure of two markets caused supply disruptions.

Already several food shops, hospitality businesses and supermarkets that rely on City-based produce dealers for fresh supplies are feeling the pinch after Nyabugogo main food market and Kigali City Market were closed due to spike in coronavirus infections.

The interruption of the supply chain will also affect suppliers and producers of fresh food upcountry.

“I had running contracts with three restaurants that I supply with food items, now I can’t tell how else I can closed with everything in it except perishables which I was allowed to take out. For many it is even impossible to get a stall in smaller markets,” said Daniel Muneza, a Kigali City Market trader.

Mr Muneza, who puts his daily profit from supplying restaurants to between Rwf10, 000 and Rwf20, 000 daily told Rwanda Today he had notified his clients to explore possibilities of finding an upcountry transporter for direct delivery.

“Many people like me will have to renegotiate with the businesses they supply because the supply chain is set in such a way that Nyabugogo serves as the one-stop shop for all upcountry fresh produce for redistribution to all who need them.”

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The two Nyarugenge-based food markets with estimated 2,000 traders are at the heart of food supply chain in the city as they bring together thousands of dealers, who serve as a link between upcountry farmers and urban consumers.

According to Kigali City council, a decision was made to reroute all upcountry food supplies destined for Kigali to three designated sites on the corridors outside the central business district — Kanyinya in Shyorongi — for all supplies coming from the Northern Province, Giticyinyoni and Nzove.

Wholesale traders can also go directly to other city markets that are still operational, according to Emmy Ngabonziza, Nyarugenge District executive administrator.

However, Chantal Mutoni, a trader in the Nyabugogo market said all the traders in the closed markets were asked to stay home pending the testing to confirm their Covid-19 status.

“Even those who had came not knowing about the closure were turned away,” she said.

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