Several women vendors at the Sukuta-Salagi newly established market have called on The Gambia government to retain their new market and help them in building the market to improve their livelihood.
The Sukuta village leadership had identified a 95×60 metres plot of land to the women of Sukuta-Salagi and satellite communities as a market, but according to officials of the Sukuta-Salagi Unity Association, the government claimed the land is reserved for a different purpose.
However, the women have started selling in the new market using wooden tents and umbrellas as construction is ongoing. Now, the women vendors are calling on the government to allow them continue the new market as well as support them in construction.
The women said the market could immensely have a positive impact on nearby residents and vendors as well as save lives of vendors who travel to far markets every dawn to sell.
Speaking to journalists at Sukuta- Salagi new market, Bintou B. Colley, the secretary general of Sukuta-Salagi Unity Association, called on the government to help them maintain the market.
Ms Colley appealed to the central government and the Brikama Area Council to work with development partners to construct and help residents in building the market.
She noted that if the market is sustained and built, it would have a positive impact on people’s lives in the area, especially women vendors who travel to Serekunda, Bakoteh and Coastal Road markets as early as 5:00 a.m. to sell their products.
“The market is important in saving women’s lives because before the establishment of the market, women of Sukuta-Salagi and the satellite communities used to wake-up as early as 5:00 a.m. just to travel to Serekunda and Coastal Road markets for selling their products. This is risky,” she said.
Ms Colley added that she would be disappointed if the government disallows them to continue the market, adding that the government cannot give each Gambian a million dalasi to sustain his or her living but have the responsibility to create an enabling environment for all to work.
In this regard, she reiterated that the government should allow the continuity of the market as well as build it for them.
Faye Darboe, a vendor, who travelling to Serekunda Market on a daily basis to sell her products, called on the government to help the women in the area to retain the market.
She further urged all and sundry to help them financially in constructing the market.
“This market is so essential to us because I personally used to travel to Serekunda Market every dawn (5:00 a.m.) to sell fish but with the coming of this market, I would not spend much money on fares,” a Sare Pateh village fish vendor said.
Fama Sanneh, another vendor said: “We want the government to help us maintain this market because we are using it to sustain our livelihood. Let them sympathise with us as women and allow us to continue operating here.”
Awa Joof, resident of Sukuta-Salagi, said: “There are many reserve lands in the country and if the government wants to do something else, let it choose other reserve lands and allow the women to continue working on this market.”