Farmer: Vegetable Traders Appreciate Gov’t for Relocation to Omega, But…

Few vegetables traders making business under a structure at the Omega market

Vegetable traders at the Red-light market in Paynesville have commended the government for their relocation to the Omega market.  However, they have said that the lack of adequate structure to accommodate many of their members, as well as storage facilities to preserve their products, are causing them to experience losses to their businesses.

The vegetables traders have therefore appealed to President George M. Weah to instruct the Public Works Ministry to construct for them a market structure and a storage facility at the Omega market to help reduce losses.

Omega Market is a few minutes away from the Red-light commercial hub.  

Few weeks ago, the government took a drastic decision to relocate many of the businesses from the Red-light Commercial center to Omega to allow the smooth operation of the road construction work currently going on around the center. This decision was, however, received with mixed reactions from the marketers. 

Speaking to the Daily Observer, the chairman of the Liberia Vegetables Sellers Association (LVSA), Sumo Mulbah, said that his association welcomed the decision, but many of his members were scattered all over the market and did not have an ideal place to sell their products.

Mr. Mulbah said that there are more than 300 vegetable sellers at the Omega market and many of them do not have a place to sell.

“The relocation of the vegetable market from Red-light to Omega is a good decision as it puts a stop to huge quantities of vegetables being damaged on the market during transactions. The Red-light market was very congested for vegetable marketing. This place we are today is ideal, but we are appealing to the government for a storage facility to enable our members to preserve their produce.

Mulbah said the construction of a structure will allow all of his members to be arranged in one place so as to enable them to do their businesses better.

According to Mulbah, the vegetable market is one of the important markets that the government needs to invest in to create jobs in the agriculture sector.

He said that they are working with vegetable farmers in the country by empowering them with inputs and linking with buyers to improve their incomes.

Mulbah however, said that there is a need for members of his organization to get empowered with loans to enable the purchase of a vehicle to help transport produce to the markets.

He said not many farmers are able to transport their goods to the market on a regular basis.

The chairman of the vegetables organization also stressed the need for the government to attract them to the export market. According to him, if this is done, it will greatly improve the lives of his members and smallholder vegetables farmers.

Wade Angeline Wilson, a vegetable trader, said “well, we’re pleased with the relocation here at the Omega market. First, when we arrived, the place was so bad, but now we are experiencing some level of improvement. What we want the government to do for us is to construct a hall, where all fruits and vegetables sellers will belong. Even our customers were so disheartened from the beginning. Now, seeing the improvement of the area, they are happy. I want to thank the government for their tireless effort for the improvement of the Omega market. It is our prayer that the government will continue to do more,” she said.

“From the early stage of the relocation, we were very angry about the idea, but what we are now seeing makes us happy,” said Linda Mulbah. “The President is really doing well and we are satisfied. You know everywhere, when development is really to take place, destruction will have to take place. We were vexed, but now we understand.”

Madam Mulbah recommended a structure for vegetable sellers where they can provide their own tables because of the size of their products.

“We want the President to let us have a space for ourselves in the market. We do not want the tables like the ones in the other structures because they are small,” Madam Mulbah said.

Monica Francis, another vegetable trader, said that the government will do better for vegetable traders if there was storage for their produce at the Omega market. She said that she and other traders were involved in importing exotic vegetables.

“We purchase vegetables from Ivory Coast, Benin and other African countries to supply the Liberian markets. Exotic vegetables, like carrots and tomatoes, are in demand on the market because not many farmers in the country are producing them,” she explained.