(Credit: Umar Nsubuga)
Herbert Kaddu, a vegetable vendor at Matugga Market, says fresh chili pepper is one of the products that have no ready market. He says sometimes it is a risky business to venture into.
“When farmers bring their produce, usually it is packed in sacks. One person cannot buy the whole of it as he may make huge losses. At times three people buy one sack, divide it and then sell it to others."
Kaddu says chilli pepper comes in two colours: green and red. People have no particular preference to one colour because they take any given to them. But most of the customers prefer the green one as they claim it is hotter than the red one.
Rita Sanyu, another vegetable vendor at Kalerwe Market, says she has not identified any particular group that buys the pepper.
“Sometimes I get a challenge of selling the red ones. By the time they bring in the red one, it is already in its maturity stages. It is not as good as the green one, which is still raw and has the desired hot taste. However, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t people who prefer the red one,” she explains.
According to Stella Membe, a vegetable vendor at Kawempe, she buys two kilogrammes, but two weeks can go by before a kilo is finished. All I do is make losses.
She argues that the market would be there only if those that bought would consume it in a few days and then come back to buy. But sometimes they may return after a week.
Membe says for a product that is hardly bought, keeping it fresh can be a challenge. If not kept well, the chili can last only a few days after it is bought.
Sometimes by the time it comes to the market, she says it is in bad condition, s it doesn’t last long.
“When it rots, the best one can do is throw it away because no one will buy rotten stuff. To us the traders, that means losses, but just like any other business, we cannot avoid it.”
When you go to Kalerwe, 2kg (wholesale) cost sh5,000 while the retail (less than a quarter) is sh1000.
At Kasubi, 2kg cost sh3,500 while retail (less than a quarter) is sh500.
Membe says that during the bad times, 2kg can go for as much as sh10,000. Currently, a 50kg sack of chili pepper goes for sh50,000-sh60,000