As part of its efforts to limit the unauthorised street vendors, Muscat Municipality has urged citizens and residents to avoid buying from them.
Speaking to Muscat Daily, a municipality official said, “Muscat Municipality urges people to avoid buying from street vendors who sell vegetables and fruits outside the Central Market for Fruits and Vegetables in Mawaleh. These vendors are not licensed and sell products of unknown origin or which are not in compliance with health specifications and requirements. They can harm public health and cause food poisoning.”
He said the municipality seeks to educate the community by various means pointing out the harms that can cause from consuming uninspected food items.
“The municipality also continues to cooperate with the concerned authorities to combat this phenomenon, arrest the violators and take legal action against them.”
The municipality has urged market goers to adhere to the COVID-19 precautionary measures such as maintaining social distance, wearing masks and avoiding shopping during busy times. The Mawaleh market is open from 5am to 5pm. The civic body is maintaining two separate entry and exit points for consumers and merchants.
Talking about street vendors, a citizen, Sultan al Rawahi said they are everywhere.
“These street vendors represent the unauthorised hidden trade. Most of the vegetables and fruits they sell are cheap and spoilt. We must help the authorities to curb this phenomenon. I hope authorities allocate places for street vendors that meet all the sanitary conditions.”
Another citizen, Nasser al Hosani, said, “Unfortunately, I bought from them and had to throw the whole lot as it was spoilt. These street vendors sell the leftover fruits and vegetables that have been dumped in the garbage bins inside the central market. I hope that the Ministry of Labour and ROP will increase campaigns to arrest them.”
Ali Khan, a merchant in the Central Market, said vegetables and fruits sold inside the market are supervised by the market administration and by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources.
“We do not know the source of vegetables and fruits available with street vendors,” he said.
Ahmed al Kharousi said he only buys from licensed street vendors.