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Market Vendors Embrace Digital Platforms to Keep In Business

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Our reporter placed an order on WhatsApp through Deo Twikiriize, the team leader Nakawa Market Online Store. He explained to URN that he was working with several vendors in the market to supply him with goods on order.
Fruits purchased digitally from Nakawa Market

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Market vendors in Kampala are embracing online services to deliver foodstuffs to their customers because of the travel restrictions because of COVID19.  

The vendors have taken to Facebook, WhatsApp, twitter and open online stores to market their products. Nakawa Market Online Store is one of the platforms that have taken social media by storm.  The store operates Monday to Saturday from 8am to 6pm and on Sunday between mid-day and 6 p.m. 

The store delivers food to any place around the city for as long as the order doesn’t go below Shillings 20,000. Our reporter placed an order on WhatsApp through Deo Twikiriize, the team leader Nakawa Market Online Store. He explained to URN that he was working with several vendors in the market to supply him with goods on order.  

“Please note that we don't own the prices for dry food, we only buy on your behalf from the suppliers,” he said. After expressing interest to buy fruits and vegetables, Twikiriize provided a list of produce, a price list and voucher indicating the clients name, reference number and address.

  Also indicated was a 10 per cent charge for the service. With a total shopping order of Shillings 25,000, the reporter paid an extra Shillings 2,500 as shopping fee and parted with an extra Shillings 1,000 for every kilometer to get the delivery.  

  Payments are made either through mobile money, or on delivery. The delivery was made through a motorcyclist, albeit after so many hours of waiting. Four years back, the Institution for Social Transformation started working with market women to improve their economic status. 

This Non-Government Organization trained over 400 women to use their "Market Garden App" to deliver goods to customers. Rita Atukwasa, the Executive Director Institution for Social Transformation, says customers in a radius of five kilometers can make orders and be served with in 45 minutes by any of the over 50 women in Ntinda New Market and Nakawa market  using the App.

 

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  Atukwasa says they had six riders but have now enrolled about 30 more due to the COVID 19 Pandemic that has seen a slight increase in orders as more people keep home to avoid crowded places. 

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Agnes Gumoshabe, a vendor in New Ntinda Market has been using the App for close to a year now. She says in previous weeks, she has seen an increase in online customers from the usual two to about five customers she would receive daily.  

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Gumoshabe says that apart from the poor internet connection that disrupts her sometimes, online transactions are more convenient. As private individuals seek to make deliveries to people, government is also considering similar arrangements in a bid to decongest public places. 

Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA is currently working with the leadership of Wandegeya, Bugoloobi, Bwaise, Nakasero, Usafi and Owino markets among others to deliver goods to homes. The market leaderships provided contacts of traders heading different sections in markets. These are published on KCCA’s website for the public to call, make orders and have their delivery. 

Markets have a list of accredited Boda Boda riders working with vendors to make deliveries. Payment is through mobile money or upon delivery. Transport chargers are dependent on the distance and the rider as they are no standard transport charges.  Market heads work hand in hand with KCCA to ensure that the interests of the vendors, customers and transporters are satisfied.