Sanitizer Sellers in Gulu City Register Low Sales

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A number of vendors stocked sanitizers while some individuals whose jobs were affected by the pandemic grabbed the opportunity to start selling hand sanitizers.
26 Jan 2021 14:53
Saraya hand sanitizer

Audio 4

The demand for hand sanitizer in Gulu city has dropped over the past five months, according to the dealers. When Uganda registered its first cases of Covid-19, a number of companies started producing sanitizers following the recommendation by the Health Ministry of washing hands using soap and sanitizers as some of the measures to prevent infect and spread of the disease.

A number of vendors stocked sanitizers while some individuals whose jobs were affected by the pandemic grabbed the opportunity to start selling hand sanitizers.  The demand for had sanitizers shot up of July 8th 2020. Three months after Covid-19 was registered in Uganda, Uganda National Bureau of Standards- UNBS certified 98 companies to produce sanitizers, in addition to 38 other companies that were already existence.

This brought to 138, the number of companies producing sanitizers to 136 producing 182 brands.  Brian Opiyo, an agent of Bukona Instant Hand Sanitiser, a product of Bukona Agro Processors Limited in Nwoya district, says he registered quick sales for only about four months.   

Opiyo, who has a stall along Gulu Avenue in Gulu City, says when Covid-19 broke out in the country, he could sell as many as many as three boxes to individual buyers, while organizations could buy up to 10 boxes in a day.  He reveals that he started registered a drop in sales in July where people bought only small bottles of 55mls.  

//Cue out: “Sanitizer te nino ni.” 

Cue out: …olo olo gipenyo.”//    


“These days sanitizers don’t sell much. Around April to June, I used to sell a lot, because some people could buy a whole box. For the small boxes I could sell two to three to those who bought the 55mls. Organizations could buy up to 10 boxes containing the big boxes each day. But it came a time when only a few people could buy the small bottles, and traveler could buy the small bottle. When students started going to school, the sales slightly improved, but not as before, up to now, sales are not good.”  

Opiyo however reveals that although sales improved when students were returning to school, he still could not sell more than a box in a day because the students could buy a half-liter bottle. He argues that the sale of sanitizers has dropped because of reduced sensitization on the dangers of the virus, which has made the population complacent.   

//Cue it: “Gini wa radio…” 

Cue out: … gitye relaxed.”//   


“Sales can’t equal a boxful. Sometimes I only sell half a box, on really good day. On some days, I don’t sell even a single bottle. Students buy the bottles of half or one little and that is it.  I think reduced sensitization on radios is leading to low sales. People are now relaxed.”   

Nighty Amony, a sanitizer at Gulu Main Market says individual buyers no longer buy sanitizers except students who are going to school. When Covid-19 was detected in Uganda, Amony could sell six boxes containing 75 bottles of 55mls.   But now, he would be lucky to sell 10 bottles of 55mls in a day.  According to Among, people openly tells her that there is no corona, whenever sell urges them to buy sanitizer. 

//Cue in: “Dano adana…”

Cue out: …wajuku ni guwil.”// 


“Only students and parents shopping for the children are buying the sanitizers. When Corona just started, I could sell six boxes, some of which contained 75, 40 or sixty bottles. Nowadays, I can’t even sell 10 bottles of 55 mls. People have stopped buying because they say there is no corona. That is what they tell me when I ask them to buy.”  

Jackson Odong, another sanitizer seller also says the business is no longer lucrative. Odong, a mobile vendor says when government reopened public transport; he sold a lot by targeting travelers at the two main bus parks in Gulu City.   “Almost everyone entering a bus would buy a sanitizer, but now, I don’t sell even five bottles for travelers in the two bus parks,” Odong says.   

Alex Bukenya, an Accountant at Bukona Agro Processors, says the sale of their product has reduced by at least 20 percent. Bukenya thinks the reduced sale is a result of people becoming less afraid of the virus. He says even organizations such as banks that used to be their bulk buyers have either reduced or stopped buying.   

//Cue in: “Sale have dropped drastically…”  

Cue out: …which is costly?”//