Kalambo. The newly constructed Kasanga international market in Kalambo district in Rukwa district has failed to start operations eight years since its completion due to lack of electricity.
Power is needed by traders and fishermen for refrigerating harvested fish from Lake Tanganyika and for providing the light for overnight businesses.
The failure to kick-start trade activities at the market is a missed opportunity for the economy of the area and potential revenue for the Kalambo District Council. One of the fishermen in the area Mr Said Simtowe told The Citizen that since the market was completed four years ago, no business is being conducted in the multi-million shilling facility, as many fish traders use unofficial routes to export the commodities to neighbouring countries of DR Congo and Zambia.
The Kasanga market cost Sh800 million to build. The cost was met by Tanzania Farmers Network (Mviwata) through a grant from European Union. Additional funding was provided by the Sumbawanga District Council.
“The market has turned into a warehouse to store fishing machines. The government must now recognise the efforts by stakeholders who organised themselves to construct the facility. Another fisherman Mr Benedict Kiberiti also urged the government to provide electricity to the market saying supplying power will attract foreign traders from Zambia and DR Congo.
“The arrival of traders from neighbouring countries will, in itself stimulation economic growth here,” Kiberiti noted. He also doesn’t see why the operationalisation of the market would not attract investors willing to build fish processing plants in the area to add value to the fish products. Recently, the deputy minister for Fisheries Abdallah Ulega visited Rukwa region and promised to speak to the minister of Energy about the issue. The Kasanga fish market was aimed at solving the problem of marketing of fish and possibly change the power balance in favour of the producers.