• The new market has a drainage system and safety facilities.
• Kilifi governor says his administration will also upgrade the old market after complaints of poor ventilation that ruin goods.
Traders in Malindi town have heaved a sigh of relief following the opening of the Sh80 million Kwajiwa ultramodern market.
The project was initiated by the Kilifi government and will enable traders to relocate from the roadside where they have been operating in temporary shelters for several years. Construction had been delayed for more than four years.
More than 300 traders are to benefit. The new market has a drainage system and safety facilities. There are other open spaces that will accommodate a larger number of vendors.
Governor Amason Kingi, while commissioning the market, said his administration is keen to improve markets in the resort town. Kwajiwa will attract many hoteliers who are in need of fresh products, he said.
As part of efforts to promote small-scale trade, the county will rehabilitate the old market following complaints by traders that they are incurring losses due to excess heat resulting from poor ventilation. It will also be expanded to accommodate more sellers.
"This is part of the grand plans to create an environment conducive to trade and attract tourists who will be able to buy products in a well-planned market," Kingi said.
Tourism and Trade executive Nahida Athman said, "We have grand plans to beautify Malindi tourism resort town. That will only be achieved after traders are moved away from the road reserves in a proper way."
Alice Atieno, the chairwoman of Kwajiwa market, thanked the county government for completing the project. She said every trader who previously operated from the market will get a stall. "The new market has proper drainage and will enable traders to be in touch with their clients as each stall is numbered," she said.
The market also has an area for fish and meat traders and other stalls on the first floor. "We've been suffering for long. When it rained, we were forced to construct temporary structures. Goods were going bad, but the new area is good and convenient for business."
Kwajiwa market is a key tourism attraction site as it supplies goods to hotels and private houses.
(Edited by F'Orieny)