Featured | Mar 07,2020
Unsurprisingly, Qera was not its usual self during this Easter holiday. It was not empty, but neither was it filled to the brim with buyers the way it typically is during holidays.
Like most things, it has been affected by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic rocking most of the world, and the chief indication of this were the individuals in protective gear that sprayed cattle with disinfectants. Before they were led into their enclosures, the cattle were also made to walk on sacks dipped in disinfectant.
Neither were buyers spared the precautionary measures. They were asked to keep their distance from each other, ideally two metres, and were strictly required to wear face masks.
To the traders in Qera, the fall in demand was clearly visible, in stark contrast to the end of the previous fasting seasons. There was more movement than has been the case in the past few weeks, but that activity has not reached the marketplace as many continue to stay home. As devastating as the social distancing measures to the sellers have been, the public's hesitation to eat raw meat, an Ethiopian delicacy popular during Easter, has done even more to make the cattle less desirable.
As a result, in a country that has seen double digit inflation rates for the last two years, meat markets saw a freeze in the prices of sheep and cattle, the latter fetching between 15,000 and 50,000 Br since Gena, the Ethiopian Christmas holiday.
The same phenomenon has been witnessed at markets across the city, which typically see vibrant business activity during holidays. It was striking to many to see the normally bustling Shola market receive only a smattering of customers, those willing enough to venture out to buy holiday essentials. Just like Qera, depressed demand meant that the price of eggs and chicken remained either the same or fell since the last holiday.
“I was in for a surprise,” said one buyer that was able to find chicken on the market for 100 Br less than she did during Gena.
You can read the full story here
PUBLISHED ON Apr 17,2020 [ VOL 21 , NO 1042]
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