Women traders at the Amboseli National Park, Loitoktok, Kajiado South have been forced to reduce prices of beads, ornaments and artifacts by up to 40 per cent in an effort to tap the local tourist market.
The Maasai women who eke out a living from selling the wares to tourists at the Kimana gate entrance cry foul over negative effects of covid 19 which has adversely affected business as international tourists are becoming rare day by day.
The joint women venture under Oltepesi self-help group comprising 26 women now fear that as schools reopen in January they may not be able to raise school fees due to the low sales.
They say they have cut the prices after realizing local tourists have kept off purchasing the artifacts and ornaments due to the perceived high prices.
According to the traders, the business venture fetched them up to Ksh500, 000 monthly before the pandemic.
For instance, a beaded necklace that was selling at between Ksh450-500 is now going for Ksh250.
The traders have only managed to sell 45pc of the stock since April forcing them to suspend chamas (micro-savings groups) a situation that has seen them exhaust their savings to meet daily needs.
They are now calling on Kenya Wildlife Services (Kws) to also cushion them as they have for hoteliers and community rangers within the Amboseli Ecosystem.
Most of the creative woodwork arts are imported from the neighboring country Tanzania.
The effects have widely been felt by women who engage in the business across the county since the market has shrunk in all tourist attractions centres due to the few international tourists.