Tanzania: Donkey Traders Suffer Losses Due to Covid-19 Pandemic

DONKEY traders have urged the government to set up their special markets after only one in the region closed down.

The call came after some 20 traders from Manyara and Singida regions, who spent 40 days, failed to sell over 2,000 donkeys in Shinyanga after finding the market and buyers no longer in place.

“The investor, Fanghua Investment Company, announced to close the business in October. The firm directed us to bring the donkeys before the closure day. We responded, but we have found out that there are no buyers,” a donkey trader, Mr Yona Lucas, from Manyara told ‘Daily News’ at the weekend.

He said apart from finding the market closed they also incurred huge losses after 280 animals died as they were still waiting so that they could be sold.

The animals died due to various reasons, including bad weather and pasture. Mr Lucas said: “the problem is that there was only one investor dealing with the donkey meat business”. Mr Lucas has 100 donkeys bought at between 150,000/- and 200,000/- each and he expected to sell a kilo of meat at about 2,000/-.

One animal normally weighs between 120 and 170kg. “You can see how much we are going to lose,” he said as he expressed his utter dismay. Another trader from Singida, Ms Selina Amon, said they were in a dilemma on how they were going to pay their bank loans since no alternative was at hand.

Ms Amon said they had invested a lot because donkeys were obtained as far as Mbeya and sold in Shinyanga. When reached for comment, Shinyanga District Commissioner (DC) Jansita Mboneko said there was miscommunication between traders and the investor because the business was shut down in July due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I advised them to stop the business while we were waiting for new directives from the relevant ministry,” Ms Mboneko said. The DC said the investor was “supposed to tell traders the truth to curb further losses.”

The district authorities, according to Ms Mboneko, have already communicated to the relevant authority to find a solution. Fanghua Investment Manager Alice Mingyang said the business was closed since July due to various challenges.

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