By Rumbidzayi Zinyuke
Sakubva Produce Market has been shut by Mutare City Council to de-congest the bus terminus and market complex, but new decentralised fresh produce markets in Dangamvura, Chikanga and Hobhouse remain open.
In a statement yesterday, Mutare City Council public relations manager Mr Spren Mutiwi said the three would operate between 6am and 10am daily, effective today.
Farmers are supposed to have started selling their produce in the three new decentralised markets today after their representatives reached an agreement to allocate each other areas to work from.
A survey by The Herald yesterday showed that a few farmers had delivered produce to the decentralised markets.
At Dangamvura Ground, less than five farmers supplying green vegetables, bananas and onions showed up. The rest continued to take their produce to the Sakubva market, which they said guaranteed huge sales.
Mr Mutiwi said the closure of Sakubva market will compel farmers to use the designated markets, thus minimising the risk of spreading Covid-19.
“The farmers met last week with their representatives and they reached an agreement that each farmer would be allocated a market to supply so that there would be a balance of the produce supplied to each market,” he said.
“But they shifted goal posts and they all went to Sakubva today (yesterday). This move (closure of Sakubva market) will force them to comply so that we can minimise the number of people gathered in one place.”
Sakubva produce market was reopened three weeks ago following interventions by President Mnangagwa to allow fresh produce farmers to continue supplying the markets and keep the wheels of the economy turning.
The market, which has been operational between 6am and 9am every day, remained a headache for authorities as the number of people gathered there at any given time was too big, resulting in lack of social distancing. The Herald