- If the petition is adopted, it will criminalise stocking of vegetables, dairy products and fruits on supermarket shelves.
Traders in Nakuru County have proposed a legislation that will bar supermarkets from selling fresh farm produce.
Led by Mr Hezron Muiri, the grocers operating from the Wakulima market have submitted a written petition to the Clerk of the County Assembly Joseph Malinda, that if adopted will criminalise stocking of vegetables, dairy products and fruits on supermarket shelves.
The petition further seeks to compel the devolved unit to conduct routine maintenance and repairs on all public markets within its jurisdiction, as dilapidated infrastructure and poor hygienic conditions have been blamed for reduced customer numbers in the facilities.
Nakuru’s chief officer in charge of Trade and Tourism, Ms Edith Kimani, said though weighty issues had been raised in the petition, political interference was hampering the devolved unit’s efforts to revamp public markets and make them compete favourably with supermarket chains.
“We need neater markets with good drainage systems and properly planned stalls to attract customers who would otherwise have gone to supermarkets. Traders should embrace change and allow us to plan these markets in a proper and modern way. The county is keen to promote fair trade practices for both traders and major supermarket chains,” said the chief officer.
However, in a quick rejoinder, major supermarket chains in the town have read mischief in the proposed legislation and opposed the petition.
Branch manager at the Botswana owned Choppies Supermarket Peter Mukuri said such legislation would expose farmers to exploitation by unscrupulous brokers and middlemen.
“This petition will be counterproductive to farmers. Most of these chains buy directly and pay in cash all deliveries made by local farmers. We are empowering the Kenyan farmer and offer competitive prices that are acceptable at market rates. We do not undercut anyone,” said Mr Mukuri.