Fruits vendors are concerned with drastic decline in demand for their products partly due to restrictions imposed on businesses to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
While production of fruits locally generally stable, demand is low as more people are required to work from home. Vendors say working remotely and vaccine mandates have reduced the number of people going shopping daily.
This is in addition to reduced purchasing power as many people lost sources of income during the pandemic. With limited sources of income, vendors say some people stopped buying fruits.
“Some people don’t come to the market because they hate regular hand washing, and some are not vaccinated…” Jean Claude Nizeyimana, a fruit vendor, told Rwanda Today.
The vendors say their biggest customers came from social gatherings such as weddings and parties in homes. But the current restrictions on the number of people that can attend events and a ban on some social gatherings has reduced demand.
“House parties and events like weddings increased demand.” said Donatienne Nyiramana, a fruit vendor at Nyabugogo.
There is also concern over expenses for vendors who rent stalls in markets who say there are incurring more costs on water and soap due to handwashing stations yet they have additional expenses including security fees, taxes and rent.
The monthly expenses which go as high as Rwf 125000 including rent, vendors say are too high.