Infiltration of traders from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda to the fish market in Lodwar seems to be affecting the fish business in Busia County.
According to the chairperson of the Fish Traders Association in Busia town Mr Francis Aketch, they are now competing with traders from DRC and Uganda for the market in DRC, Uganda, South Sudan, and Rwanda after the traders ‘invaded’ source in Lodwar to export them direct to DRC, Uganda, Rwanda, and South Sudan.
“It is in the public domain that fish traders from DRC and Uganda have entered our source of fish in Lodwar and are now buying the dry fish and exporting them directly to DRC without going through the Busia transhipment market.” Said Mr Aketch.
Expressing his displeasure in Busia Mr Aketch appealed to Busia governor Dr Paul Otuoma to coordinate with his Turkana counterpart to intervene and address the situation adding that if the situation is allowed to continue they may render them jobless.
“It is our appeal to the Busia County governor to intervene and address the situation before we lose a livelihood. This market has more than 1000 people depending on it to buy fish from Lodwar and export them daily.
Allowing traders from Congo and Uganda to go for the fish directly from Lodwar and passing Moroto to DRC is killing Busia’s economy. Let the fish come to this market, repackaged before they can be allowed to proceed to the market,” he explained.
Addressing the media at the Busia fish market Mr Aketch said the county will be affected in terms of revenue collection if all traders from Congo are allowed to buy fish directly from Lodwar.
“The county government collects millions of monies from this market in the form of revenue annually and allowing the fish across to Uganda via Swamp border to Moroto to Uganda and DRC means that this market will close down and the revenue will also reduce.” He said.
His sentiments were echoed by Ms Betty Nanjala, one of the fish traders at Busia dry fish market.
Shadrack Omondi one of the fish loaders at the market raised his fear of losing his livelihood adding that if fish is exported directly from Lake Turkana to the outside market would render him and others jobless.
“As one of the loaders at the market, we may be rendered jobless if the fish traders from Congo and Uganda are allowed to go for fish directly in Turkana County.
Let those concerned move in with speed and address the situation before it escalates,” said Omondi.