More than 500 traders in Busia County benefitted from the umbrella from the office of the Busia woman representative Catherine Omanyo through the National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF).
The small-scale traders comprising mama mboga, charcoal sellers, and those repairing bicycles among others narrated their stories, saying that for a long time, they have endured the sun and rain when doing their business.
Beatrice Akoth Wesonga has been roasting maize at Bumala market for many years and says getting the umbrella will shield her from the sun and the rain she has endured the entire period she has operated at the market.
“Getting this umbrella is a step for us who don’t operate from any structure. Like any other trader without structures, we have persevered in sun and rain for a long time. When it starts drizzling I am forced to shelter elsewhere but with the umbrella, I will be able to continue doing my work without interruption,” said Akoth
According to George Omondi, also a trader at Bumala market, he has suffered a lot in the sun selling maize at a wholesale price to those who roast them, adding that maize is perishable. Exposing them to the sun affects its quality resulting in losses.
“Most of these traders sell perishable goods that require shade. Maize and vegetables require proper care and exposing them to direct sunlight affects their quality therefore with the umbrella providing the shade our goods are safe,” said Mr Omondi
Their sentiments were echoed by Ms Pauline Akoth Bwire who sells vegetables at the market.
Akoth says “For many years I have encountered loss when the vegetables dry up as a result of scorching sun but with the umbrella, I will not have to worry about the sun affecting my goods resulting in loss.”
Walter Okwako repaired bicycles at ‘Soko Mjinga’ in Busia town, he welcomed the gift from the woman representative saying he would no longer need to seek shade on a sunny day.
He however faulted the county government Askaris in what he termed as ‘harassing’ them without directing the traders to a proper place to operate.
Busia woman representative Catherine Omanyo promised to distribute more umbrellas to traders in other markets and towns across the county to enable them to have a conducive environment to carry out their businesses.
“Traders like Mama Mboga, those who roast maize, those who sell charcoal, and those who repair bicycles are people who make little income in a day which cannot enable them to pay school fees for their children, buy food, and pay the rent, and also buy an umbrella. Stepping in to buy them an umbrella is easing their burden,” said Omanyo.
The woman representative appealed to the traders in Busia town to give the government of Busia a little time to find a place for them adding that elected leaders from Busia county, will find an alternative place to relocate the traders from the roadside to avoid collusion between the traders and the county Askaris.