Farmers at the Taveta border market near the Kenya-Tanzania border wants the authorities to stop the influx of farm produce from Tanzania.
The worried farmers and traders said that the construction of a modern cross-border market and Bus Park in the area did not spur cross-border business as envisioned.
Taveta thrives as a point of commerce between Kenya and Tanzania, with a twice-weekly outdoor market that attracts people from as far as Mombasa and the northern Tanzanian town of Arusha.
Farmers interviewed said unhealthy competition posed by their counterparts from Tanzania was denying them market for their farm produce.
The distraught farmers say they have been left with a glut of farm produce for lack of a market and now want the government to buy the surplus.
The cross-border traders mostly wholesalers also complained of harassment, double taxation and trade barriers hampering free movement of goods and people at the border point.
The traders’ representatives Lillian Makanje decried the unfair competition caused by the influx of farm produce was responsible for plummeting in profits for framers and traders.
Ms. Makanje, a banana trader said farm produce such as bananas, tomatoes and onions among other farm produce from Tanzania were being sold at a cheaper rate forcing Kenya farmers to dispose their products at a throw away prices.
She expressed concern over the multiplicity of the cess collected by the local authorities which she says makes imported goods from Tanzania be sold at exorbitant prices.
“The flourishing cross border trade is threatened by the high cess imposed and raises the cost of consumer goods dampening the spirit of the traders” she lamented.
She also complained of restrictions hindering free cross-border trade between the two countries among other challenges at the border.
Jesita Wanjiku who sells onions at the wholesale market said the county government should intervene before the unhealthy competition posed by the Tanzanian traders pushed them out of business.