Tag Archives: Informal market relations

Liberian Markets: Part 3

Services are offered at Liberian markets independently, or as adding value to other products.Independent services include services provided by the Liberian Marketing Assoiciation such as schools at the premises and child care. They also include catering services, provided by individual cooks offering food to people visiting the markets as part of their daily routines.

servicesSome market traders are involved in the provision of added value services complementing their main marketable products. Generally, the services appear to be attached to low value products such as cassava dust balls, starch, ground greens, etc. Greens, for example are a fascinating case. They are very perishable, low level products. But the individuals involved in their provision seem to possess considerable entrepreneurship, initiative and resilience. Even though they have modest means, they are able to procure the greens without need for access to credit. In the procurement process they visit multiple farms, monitor the readiness of the greens for harvest, and often exchange current information about the quality of greens available at different farms via mobile phones. As greens are perishable and usually are ready for harvesting every 6 months, the monitoring process is rather demanding. Once they procure the greens, the traders add to the value by grinding the cassava leaf and by cutting the fever leaf. Thus they are able to offer their customers greens in a state suitable for immediate cooking.

Advertisements

Liberian Markets: Part 2

Another observation about Liberian markets concerns the way goods are exhibited. Generally, goods are arranged in terms of piles. Piles can be bigger, or smaller depending on the monetary value asked for them. For example, bird eye chilli pepper can be sold in regular piles, or in smaller piles sufficiently big for the cooking of a single serving of soup. Similarly, imported or manufactured food products such as spices and and condiments are repackaged into different sized sachets. For example, tomato puree comes into LBD 2 and LBD 5 sachets. Can anyone help me with some more examples? Butter? Peanut butter? Red pepper? Black pepper? Salt? Sugar?

packaging

The variety and the nature of the packaging used at Liberian markets is generally in accord with the informality characteristic of Liberian markets. Nonetheless, it reveals the lack of standardisation at the marketplaces. I suppose this might pose challenges to the use of information system (by remotely located buyers and sellers) with regards to subsequent exchange.  What do you think?