The lucrative betelnut trade in National District Capital is showing no sign of easing, despite warnings from NCD Governor, Powes Parkop, to impose a total ban on betelnut effective 1st of October.
The trade has become entrenched inthe informal sector, as an important income generating opportunity for many unemployed citizens.
The 24-hour market at Gerehu in Port Moresby is one ofthe prime locations for the betelnut trade where vendors from aroundthe city flock in as early as four am to gettheir hands onthe best deals.
Transactions are facilitated bythe suppliers, vendors and owners ofthe premises.
The suppliers are mostly from Gulf and Central Province. Prices range from K30 for a 10kg bag and K150 for 50kg bag.
It isthe suppliers that paythe ownertheir cut for usingtheir premises.
The trade is driven by factors like unemploymentowhich many vendors fall under.
Many ofthe vendors expressed similar concerns onthe proposed ban soon to be effective. “Some of us mthers are housewives and we depend on betelnut (buai) sales to sustain us, in terms of hospital fees and for our children’s lunch,” said a female betelnut seller.
They wantthe governor to come up with effective means of assistingthem, rther than banningtheir only means of survival.
“We supportthe Governor with his idea of cleaningthe city from betelnut stains and rubbish. Therefore, we want him to set up four or five betelnut markets in different centers of Port Moresby,” said a male betelnut seller. “Chargethe person who sell inthe wrong area, and charge alsothe consumer who chews inthe wrong area ofthe city,” he said.
The Governor has even trlied to build specific markets for betelnut selling, but it’seems vendors are not listening.
Earlier this month,the governor says, excuses will no longer be tolerated. The image ofthe city has been tarnished for too long with irresponsible behavior from vendors and consumers.
The informal sector act is currently under review to deal with this andthe uncontrolled boom inthe informal sector.
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