Gimme shelter

Traditional retailers in Nakuru County, which is located to the northwest of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, are seeking protection from the growing threat posed by modern formats to their livelihood by means of a ban on the sale of fresh produce in local supermarkets.

Hezron Muiri, one of the traders behind this campaign, claimed “The proposed legislation will cushion ordinary traders … from unfair competition. Most of these chains have the capacity to import cheap fruits, vegetables and dairy products at the expense of our farmers.” Wakulima Farmers Society organising secretary Abubakar Omondi added “Traders and local farmers cannot compete with multinational suppliers … The prices they offer are ridiculously low.”

The petition also seeks to compel the local authorities to conduct routine maintenance and repairs on all public markets. Local government official Edith Kimani commented: “We need neater markets with good drainage systems and properly planned stalls to attract customers who would otherwise have gone to supermarkets.”

Peter Mukuri, the manager of a local Choppies supermarket, said: “This petition will be counterproductive … We offer competitive prices and are empowering the Kenyan farmer … The petition is of no use to customers. There are customers who prefer shopping in markets and some in supermarkets and you cannot change that.”

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