Busia cooperators ask for protection

Egessa Hajusu

Traders under Busia produce dealers’ multi-purpose cooperative society have asked the government to protect them from Kenyan counterparts.

The traders want government to stop Kenyan traders from skipping their cooperatives and enter into the interior where they buy produce directly from farmers.

"What kind of government is this, that cannot protect its traders from foreigners," wondered trader Asuman Munubi who requested cabinet to intervene and address their concern.

They expressed disappointment that the practice has suffocated their cooperatives, kicked them out of business, leaving them with thousands of tons of produce in the stores.

Busia produce market attracts buyers from Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The traders said this during a chat with the Cooperator.

The Kenyans no longer buy from Busia produce market, when they cross the border they go as far as Soroti, Lira, Gulu, Masaka, Mubende and Mbarara among others where they spend days to buy, collect and store produce then go back to Kenya.

What angers the traders is that the Kenyan do all this without Ugandan leaders pointing a finger which is contrary to what happens when Ugandan traders go to Kenya.

The traders who deal in all types of corn and grain feared that traders from other countries will soon start emulating the Kenyans by going in the countryside and stop buying from them.

"We are now depending only on local buyer's that mainly take small quantities for home consumption," Peter Wandera another trader lamented.

Commenting on the issue, Oundo Ongwabe the chairperson cross border traders association (CBTA) said the Kenyan traders were violating the essence of Regional and East African Community economic integration.

Foreigners can enter into another country and buy goods from zonal markets like Busia main market but not directly from producers.

The common market should not be abused Ongwabe said, and advised the traders to get organized work collectively for their own good and stop betraying each other.

Kenyans he said have, been ushered into Uganda's interior by the very traders who are now complaining.

The Busia Municipality Member of Parliament Geoffrey Macho said he was equally distributed. He assured the traders that government is going to find a solution to the problem.

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