BY ALFRED PAGEPITU
CENTRAL Market is not a new place for market goers to do their shopping for fresh local foods, vegetables, fish, fruits and many more.
Almost every day its is the busiest place for people to visit. Some went there for shopping while others it’s just another day for them to meet up and others its time for them to do business.
This has caused the movement inside the market very busy. You have to squeeze yourself to get through others particularly at the entrance of the market.
This indicates the market is now overcrowded and you can tell it by looking at the numbers of local farmers are now selling their products on the concrete floor outside the building.
If you enter from the western entrance you have to walk carefully otherwise you step onto somebody products put on sale on the floor.
The sad thing to see is most of those selling their local products are women who have to put aside their dignity but sit down on the floor or just standing the whole day waiting for clients to purchase their products.
For those who secure space inside the market building it is comfortable for them but the issue of overcrowding is the same inside and outside.
Yesterday I took a time out to the Central market and observed that overcrowding is becoming an issue. People are now selling their stuff on the pathways and extend to the car park.
Venders close at the main entrance are not safe in terms of hygiene and overcrowded close at the bus stop in the eyes of Honiara City Council HCC.
As such, they call on the HCC to look seriously into this issue because it is a sad to see women do their selling close to the main bus stop.
Honiara City Council must also ensure that venders are able to do their marketing without the fear of being robbed or harassed or provide them enough spaces at the market.
The Market is the biggest market center in Honiara city, compare to Savo market, Kukum and other local market center in Honiara.
Thousands of people including experts and foreigners visit the market every day. It is the main hub where fresh produce from Malaita, Guadalcanal and other provinces are distributed.
Last year, we’ve seen changes in management. There was good performance news spread out about the market earnings in their revenue collection, install CCTV to monitor vender or catching ‘pick pockets and other audiences at the market area.
However, according to hundreds of daily market users, sellers and ingenious, the market place is full of activities which is not accounted for as outlines.
Illegal selling activity is happening in the market place. People (street sellers) are bringing all sorts of Asian products and selling them to rural people who selling fresh goods in market.
“They are really disturbing others from doing their market goods sales,” it was reported.
Speaking with a mother of two children from Guadalcanal Mrs. Martha expressed to Sun Weekender said, pick pockets are really targeting market place to do their illegal chore. They are not at bus stop due to tough HCC law enforcement patrols so they are always in crowded areas. They pretend to be buyers or sellers while watching your moves until they pick your phone or money.
“Let’s make Central Market to be safe, hygienic and free for the general public to enjoy daily chores.
When Sun Weekender visited the Central market, most venders have been carrying on their normal business on the footpaths along the main road at the fish market since the closure of the market.
Another woman said the market had been their source of income for their children’s lunch and bus fares to school.
She said the majority of people living in the settlement were unemployed and the market was the source of their income.
“They sold every day to make a living,” she said.
Martha said not many residents buy local food at the market so she decides to sell her mangoes in affordable prices.
“That is why we provide fresh mangoes at market on affordable prices,” Martha said.
They continue to calling on HCC to provide them space to sell their products inside the market but not close the main road.
“Selling mangoes is a good income earning opportunity when there is a season for mangoes this year. But market and space is important. We cannot sit crowded in one area,” she said.
She said most of the time she sells her mangoes at the same area where her fellow women are selling peanuts, potatoes and vegetables.
“There is an understanding between women, sometimes we argue for space, sometimes we agree and use the same space, there is nothing we can do.”
Today if you visiting Central market you might see women selling their product close to the man bus stop at the Central Market.
HCC have been urging to provide space for those who sell foods rather than ignore them to sell their products outside the market place.