A number of customers are driving more than 30km to central market in Umm Salal, which opened recently, to buy large stock of fish from their favourite vendors. Many who visited the new market on Tuesday, were into surprise when they were offered fish at very low prices.
Many of the customers The Peninsula talked to stressed that they could find no alternative to the old central market at Abu Hamour, that was closed recently. Many used to frequent the old central market for fresh fish, which were available at a lower rate compared to commercial outlets.
Meanwhile, business is picking up at the new fish market with sales reaching an average of QR2,000 per day for a vendor. However, vendors are unhappy over the performance of the market as the demands are very low in new market compared to the old market. “The sale of fish reached about QR3,000 in first two days and gradually declined,' a vendor told The Peninsula.
'Yesterday we sold fish worth about QR2,000. . At the old market our sales used to be around QR7,000 in a day and during weekend it would go over QR10,000. We know this is just the beginning as it is new market. We do not expect demands of old market in new market, now itself, but we believe that over time demands will increase,' he added.
'We have some loyal customers who visit our outlet as we received their calls inquiring the location. I shared location on Whatsup and IMO. Many of them visited already,' said another vendor.
'We have two other issues more critical that the fish sales, which are accommodation and food. We are still living in same accommodation in Doha as the new market does not have housing facility, and our travel expense has increased. And here is no proper restaurant inside the facility so we have to order food from outside,' the fish vendor said.
Most of fish vendors have also urged the authorities concerned to open wholesale vegetable and fruit market and its auction in the facility of new central market to attract the customers in a bid to increase the fish demands.
The customers residing in neighbouring areas and villages of Umm Salal Central Market welcomed the government decision for opening such facility closer to them.
The new central market also houses other business activities like fruits and vegetables outlets, shops for live chicken and a slaughterhouse for fresh meat. It also has a nursery offering fresh home decoration plants with other necessary equipment and fertiliser for home garden.
Abattoir is yet to open as some final works are still going on. Shops for live chicken have opened but they are not allowed to house live chicken at the facility due to some technical issues, which is expected to be solved soon. So vendors are selling chilled chicken, which again is not moving due to lesser customers at the facility. Vendors expect that they would be able to start their main business of selling the live chicken.
“I was a regular customer of Abu Hamour Fish market because of fresh supply on low rate. I used to visit there at least once a week to buy fish in large quantity for my family,' Imam of a mosque in Freej Halal told The Peninsula.
'Prices of fish are as normal but some species are very low today like Safi that is available at QR12 per kg. The normal price of this fish is about QR30,' said the Imam.
“We went Al Khor to buy fish and other groceries but with the new central market here, I can avoid driving long destination,” said a resident of Umm Qaran.
“I bought fish, fruits and vegetables. Fish is significantly cheaper there isn't much difference in the prices of fruits and vegetables,” he added.