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Traders, food vendors record poor patronage on first day of lockdown

Traders in the food value chain in Accra yesterday opened their shops and displayed their wares in various markets but were left disappointed as only a handful of customers showed up.

The first day of the two-week partial lockdown in parts of the country to slow the spread of the coronavirus, was one of the worst days for the traders as they recorded low sales and patronage.

Unlike the day prior to the announcement of the restriction of movements, when they had a field day as people rushed there to shop, the markets were unusually quiet.

When the Ghanaian Times visited markets including Nima, Kaneshie, Mallam and Agbogbloshie yesterday, some of the women were seen sleeping behind their wares as selling and buying had declined.

Others who were skeptical of patronage did not display all their wares but kept them in stock and brought them out only upon request.

The few buyers in the markets were wooed with sweet words by the traders. Head potters, as a result of the development, were out of business.

The need to prevent the spread of Covid -19 was not lost on the traders as some were spotted observing social distancing.

Some market women who spoke with the Ghanaian Times said there was low patronage due to the partial lockdown.

According to them since dawn no one had visited their stands, even though prices of goods had been reduced.

“We did not want to come but since the President said those of us in the food chain can come, we decided to come but we think people shopped during the weekend therefore see no need to come out,” she said.

They indicated that if the situation continued, they would not come and sell.

It would be recorded that large crowds of people converged at the various markets in Accra over the weekend to purchase foodstuffs and other essentials following the imposition of a two-week lockdown of various parts of Accra, Tema and Kumasi in the wake of the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Makola, Madina, Mallam Atta, Ashaiman, Texpo, among others, saw huge numbers of both young and old, men and women who were engaged in panic-buying, resulting in human and vehicular traffic.

Prices of goods increased exponentially, with some by hundred percent following the announcement of a partial lockdown.

BY AGNES OPOKU SARPONG 

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