Vice President Dr Gharib Bilal, opened a fish market at Kasanga village in Sumbawanga Rural District, Rukwa Region at the weekend where he promised to have the facility connected with power soon.
Addressing a public rally during the occasion, the Vice President, pleaded to users of the market to effectively utilise the lake-side infrastructure so as to improve their businesses and change their life from poverty to prosperity.
Besides facilitating electricity connection to the market, he also promised construction of cold rooms in the area.
“I have heard your cry; there is a need for power connection here to enable you to preserve fresh fish. I want to assure you that I am going to work on that,” he said.
Located on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, Kasanga market was built in partnership between a farmers’ network (Mviwata) and a French organisation (GRET) at the cost of over 802.4m/-. It can serve at least 50,000 people at once.
The construction was part of the major project on wholesale food crop markets development in Rukwa and Mbeya regions which have under implementation since 2010.
Other markets being built under the project are Matai maize market located in Sumbawanga municipality and Igurusi rice market located in Mbarali District, Mbeya Region.
Funded by the European Commission under its Food Facility Call for Proposals, the markets aim at improving market access to food crops and target rice and maize and partly fish production in Southern Highlands regions.
For his part, Mviwata Executive Director Stephen Ruvuga, said the Kasanga market will serve more than 53, 000 fishermen and businesswomen.
The structure comprises of the market itself and the storage building for dry fish, fish drying areas and offices.
“The premises will allow fisher folks to weigh and sell their captures to traders (mostly women traders) on a clean area,” he said.
According to him if the fish is to be sold fresh, it then can be stored in cool boxes (with ice purchased from Sumbawanga municipality and stored in rooms) before being loaded on light vehicles linking Kasanga village and Sumbawanga town.
“If the fish is to be solar dried, it will be exposed on a clean open area and then stored in bags before being loaded on vehicles. The two lines, fresh and dry, will be clearly separated,” he added.
For their part fish mongers urged the government to reduce tax charged on every kg of fish saying it is too high.
The opening ceremony was also attended by members of Mviwata Board of Directors, staff and government officials from Rukwa Region.
Mviwata has already built nine markets in rural areas. They include Kibaigwa, Nyandira, Tawa, Tandai, Igagala and Mkata and the new markets of Igurusi, Matai and Kasanga.