Paul Kato, a tomato supplier from Wobulenzi told URN in an interview that these middlemen who call themselves giants have blocked them from selling directly to the retailers in Cereleno and Gulu main markets, which is affecting their business.
Tomato suppliers in
Gulu district are protesting exploitation by middlemen. The tomato suppliers
mainly from Bweyale in Kiryandongo district and Wobulenzi in Luweero district,
says the middlemen from Cereleno and Gulu Main Market are lowering the prices
of tomatoes, something that is making the incur loses.
Paul Kato, a tomato supplier from Wobulenzi told URN in an interview that these
middlemen who call themselves giants have blocked them from selling directly to
the retailers in Cereleno and Gulu main markets, which is affecting their
Kato says the middlemen
are the ones who are determining the prices at which they should sell their tomatoes
without considering costs incurred by the suppliers.
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According to Kato, he used to supply the middlemen tomatoes worth 4 million Shillings,
but they would pay him Shillings 500,000 in cash while the balance is paid in
installments with claims that retailers owe them money. He has threatened to
seek intervention from Gulu District Resident Commissioner.
Florence Acan, another tomatoes supplier from Bweyale, says that besides the
unreliable payment by the middlemen, they also harass and intimidate them. She appeals to the
leadership of the two markets to come to their rescue since they are dealing in
Lillian Auma Olanya, one of the middlemen refuted the accusations leveled
against them by the suppliers, saying whatever they are doing as middlemen is
to promote unity and equality such that they all get profits out of the sale of
Auma who has been in the business for 11 years, says due to the perishable
nature of their commodity they deal in, they thought it wise to regulate the
supply of tomatoes that come in the market so that retailers don’t make loses.
Anthony Kilama, the Chairperson Cereleno market in Gulu town condemned the act
of the middlemen, saying they are blocking the business of retailers and suppliers.
According to Kilama, every vendor should be given the freedom to choose where
and who to buy from.
A wooden box of tomatoes costs Shillings 130, 000. When
the retailers buy from either the middlemen or suppliers, they sell four tomatoes
at Shillings 500.