The market’s chairman, Fikiri Magafu said yesterday that since July last year the government hiked the levy on the sardines from USD 0.16 equivalent to 368/- per kg to USD 0.2, equivalent to 460/- per kg.
“The levy hike chased away foreign buyers, hence we ask the government to lower the rate to reclaim our foreign buyers,” he said.
He said the foreign traders from Burundi, Uganda, Rwanda, Malawi, Zambia and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) now go to buy the fish from other countries in the region such as Ethiopia, Mozambique, Kenya and Zanzibar.
He said despite government’s long time promise to lower the levy, it has not done so and that as of now the sardines price have gone down – from 110,000/- per bag to 90,000/- whereas in the past the bag used to sell between 160,000/- and 180,000/-.
“Fish trade has no indicative price, it is a free market business that depends on the commodity’s demand and supply as at times the prices go up due to its scarcity,” he said.
He said at present the sardines are mainly consumed locally with main buyers from Arusha, Mbeya and Dar es Salaaam.