Prices slump as corona virus hits market

Photo: Anteneh Aklilu

The Addis Ababa city administration is disinfecting cattle to decrease the transmission of the virus at Addis Ababa Abattoir pictured above. The abattoir is taking precautions so that the corona virus don’t spread.
The World health Organization recommendations to reduce risk of transmission of emerging pathogens from animals to humans in live animal markets or animal product markets states that anyone visiting live animal markets or animal product markets should practice general hygiene measures, including regular hand washing with soap and water after touching animals and animal products, avoiding touching eyes, nose, or mouth with hands, and avoiding contact with sick animals or spoiled animal products. Stay safe. 


Easter is one of the major holidays that Ethiopians celebrate. Most of the time a holiday marks an increase in market prices and a shortage of commodities.
But as COVID-19 spreads around the globe, governments everywhere face a trade-off between economic well-being and containment.
Ethiopia also faces a greater and more dangerous challenge than many other places, given that interrupting daily economic life would threaten fragile livelihoods for tens of millions of people already living in precarious conditions.
In Ethiopia where more than half of the population is assumed to be the follower of orthodox and catholic churches, celebrating Easter after eight weeks of fasting is kind of a must.
On Easter eve, Ethiopian Christians participate in an hours-long church service that ends around 3 a.m on Sunday, after which they break their fast.
Mostly people start preparing for the celebration beginning from the last two weeks before the holiday. Unlike this year because of limited travel restrictions most products did not enter to the city market as they used to be.
In the city after the first case of corona virus was announced price of certain commodities increased. Vegetables, red pepper powder and onions have shown a ridiculous increase.
This week of Easter has a somber atmosphere and church services were not held as it was before. Previously on the holy week followers go to the church for a daily prayer, however, on March 24, 2020 the government ban public gatherings including religious worship aimed at preventing the spread of covid19.
Most large markets are moving to other areas to minimize the gathering, before a couple of weeks the city administration has decided to move the largest piazza vegetable market to Janmeda.
In Addis Ababa, in the last two or three weeks before the holiday it was familiar to see the city crowded by shops, exhibitions, bazaars and different small sheds of markets selling commodities for the holiday and these places crowded by thousands of shoppers.
Three months ago on Christmas there were two huge exhibitions opened at millennium hall and exhibition center and stayed until the eve of Christmas. Such kind of events were preferred because they gather consumers, retailers and producers together and anyone can get the products with cheaper prices than the normal market. But currently there are no bazaars and exhibitions as the city administration have changed the exhibition center and the millennium hall to isolation centers.
“Even if we are doing our best to do the same as we do before, this year is a little bit difficult, many businesses are slowing down, our income is low,” said Nunu who is a mother of two kids, and owns an electronic shop.
Mostly butter, eggs and chicken come to the city from various parts of the country, mainly from Harer, Gojjam, Arbaminch and Jimma. However according to Semahegn Yalew, a trader in Merkato, because of the virus most of the cities were restricting movements from one city to other and also the people were fearing to come to the central part with the fear of getting infected. “The price of some products are increasing and some are staying as they were at the time of the fasting season.”
From most markets of the city Capital observed the price of chicken and egg is quite lower than the price during the Christmas market.
Traders were selling an egg for 3.50 to 5.00 birr- the price is lower than the price during the Christmas festivity, whereas a chicken would set consumers back between 300 birr to 500 birr. Most are also selling a kilo of butter for 250 birr and 320 birr and the market has shown a decrease in price than it was on Christmas.
Kera, Akaki, Shegole, Bercheko are the largest cattle markets receiving cattle from different parts of the country, mainly from Harer, Wellega, Bahirdar, Jimma, Gonder and Wolayita among others. Usually, sale of livestock inside the center reflects significant seasonal variations on demand and supply. According to the traders, usually, the price is based on the type, size and origin of the cattle. “However this year the global situation of the virus and the travel ban cattle is more cheaper than it used to be, “plus people are not that much interested to buy cattle like they used to buy,” said on cattle seller at Kera.
The Addis Ababa city administration is now disinfecting cattle to decrease the transmit ion of the virus.
“Restriction of some part of the country make big change on the price of the cattle,” another trader at Kera said. According to him the Easter market shows around 2000- 3000 birr increase in price in comparison to similar holidays over the years. But it is showing a 3,000 birr decrease from last Christmas’ market.