Fish prices at Magogoni Fish Market in Dar es Salaam have gone up due to, among other factors, high operational costs.
Speaking to The Guardian in an exclusive interview, Vice Chairperson of the Auctioneers Union at the market Omary Hamad said the price increase was not only caused by a group of people who form cartels to purchase all fish which they then sell at higher prices.
“Fishermen use boats for fishing which need fuel, deep freezers and foods …they also spend much time searching for fish. Sometimes they sail up to Zanzibar, Tanga and Mafia which contributes to increased operational costs,” Hamad said.
He explained that the current shortage was seasonal, when catches are generally low.
But fish vendors blamed speculators, saying they buy fish in bulk at low prices and charge more when selling, making the former incur losses.
Juma Rashid said: “We can’t compete with these people. They have money and they just come to the market, grab the fish and disappear, leaving most vendors with nothing.”
Responding to the complaints, Hamad said that their task is to sell fish at reasonable prices that customers can afford.
He noted: “Many vendors particularly women, come to the market early in the morning, but keep on waiting, hoping that the price would go down. At the end they get nothing but complaints.”
“We are not to blame for the hiking of fish prices. This depends on the market forces. When demand is high and supply low or vice versa, the prices are affected,” he said.