Rising importation of fish from China is negatively affecting the livelihoods of traders in Majengo, Mombasa.
Wholesalers are crying foul, saying importers are selling tilapia from the Asian country directly to retailers at throwaway prices, depriving them of customers.
“Customers who used to buy from us are gone. Majengo was the only central place for fish retailers, but since these cartels invaded the market with cheap prices, we no longer get customers,” said Mr Nobert Otieno, a wholesaler.
He said some colleagues had closed shop and sought alternative work. Those with many workers had send a number of them home. “Work is not profitable. Recently, I could open my shop at 4am but today 7am is too early because we have very few customers,” he added.
Traders said they used to supply fish to Likoni, Mshomoroni, Magongo, Miritini, Tudor and Kongowea. But importers have swamped these areas, they say.
Mr Erick Odhiambo, who buys fish from Lake Victoria, said: “Tilapia and Nile Perch from the lake have few buyers in Mombasa because they are expensive. We are even selling fish on credit to reduce the stock,” said Mr Odhiambo.
Tilapia from China trades at Sh150 to Sh300 a kg , while the Kenyan variety goes for Sh400. Nile Perch (Mbuta) fetches Sh320 a kg.
Una from China dominates three quarters of the market.