Chairperson of the sardine women traders’ group, Halima Madadi said during a dialogue on the impact of Covid-19 on women’s businesses in Kilwa held last week that
The dialogues which organized by Kilwa Women’s Platform with the support from ActionAid Tanzania, further heard that the number of traders from Democratic Republic of Congo who frequent the market dropped dramatically from 20 to one per month while prices fell to between 20,000/- and 27,000/- per 20 litre from between 35,000/- and 37,000/-.
“Most women have lost their capital due to coronavirus outbreak as DRC traders stopped coming to Kilwa to purchase sardines,” Madadi said noting that the majority of the women are currently struggling to survive as their husbands have also abandoned their families.
According to her, the majority of women traders selling sardines at Kilwa Kivinje are struggling to repay debts as they took loans of between 20m/- and 30m/-.
“Before COVID-19, life was very good, the business was also good but the virus has wiped out all our savings and everything has since changed dramatically for the worst,” she noted.
Other women businesses such as ‘Mama ntilies’ have also suffered because of reduced customer numbers as the Congolese bring with them big numbers of others.
Commenting on the subject, Secretary of Tumaini Jipya la Wanawake Kilwa Women Platform, Pili Kuliwa said because the virus has affected their businesses, they are requesting the government to invest and improve their market which is an important vehicle for the fish products value chain.
“We also call on Kilwa District Council to come up with a new and effective tax collection system for fish and fish products so that 20 percent of generated revenue should be returned to Kilwa Kivinje for artisanal fishers,” she added while the remained funds go to improve infrastructure of the district.