COVID-19 blamed for Salelologa market slowdown

The Salelologa market has not been spared the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic with most of its stalls empty with sellers now opting to sell their produce next to their own homes.

The largest market facility in Savai’i would normally be crowded with men playing pool and drinking kava but business is down.

Samoa Land Corporation Chief Executive Officer, Ulugia Petelo Kavesi, confirmed the dire situation of the market.

"As you know, our economy has been greatly affected by the global pandemic," he told the Samoa Observer. "It has affected our individual families as well, because of factors such as unemployment and things like that. 

"If you see that it's empty, it is a sign of the impacts of the economic downturn we are experiencing. 

"The other problem I see is that vendors tend to close their stalls at the beginning of the week, but would only open them up starting from Thursday and unto the weekend."

Ulugia added that another contributing factor is people now prefer to sell their crops on the side of the road rather than go to the market.

"That's a common problem that is happening in Upolu as well, people nowadays prefer selling their crops and products on the side of the roads, instead of making the trip down to the market,” he added. 

"It's like a trend we see nowadays, something we did not see 20 years ago. If you take a drive on the island of Upolu and also Savai'i, you will notice that most families are now selling their crops, vegetables, and handicrafts on the sides of the road. 

"This is something good in my perspective as it is easy for them, instead of paying for bus fares to get to the market, they can now sell their products in their front yards.

"But whether or not we're making a profit from the Salelologa market, I would have to get the right data and information before I can say anything."

The Salelologa market on the big island also houses other Government Ministries' offices as well as branches for companies such as Samoa Stationery and Books, Digicel, and Vodafone. 

It is also where the main bus terminal is located on Savai’i.

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