New Road Has Left Pasar Candikuning Empty

The opening of a new 5.68 km highway shortcut has reduced the traveling time between Mengwitani and Singaraja in North Bali by 45 minutes and, as a result, has had an unintended devastating impact on tourist “farmer markets” and businesses in Candikuning, Baturiti that are now “bypassed” due to the new road construction.

Traders in the long-established roadside market selling fruits, vegetables, spices, plants, and flowers told that monthly turnovers of at least Rp. 15 million per month have now dwindled to only Rp. 1.5 million or less.

The popular and colorful Candikuning – Bedugul Market has plunged into a comatose-like state (“mati suri”).

The Industry and Trade Service for the Regency of Tabanan in West Bali is making repeated, urgent visits to the market in desperate search of a solution to the sudden business collapse. Many traders who once operated from Pasar Candikuning have now decided to abandon their kiosks and are setting up roadside stands.

The Head of Pasar Candikuning, I Ketut Semara Putra, blames the sudden and drastic customer decline on the new shortcut road inaugurated by President Joko Widodo on 02 February 2023. Those once traveling the busy and winding road between Singaraja and Tabanan are now diverting to the new roadway that has eliminated many steep slopes and sharp curves from 50 to just eight.

“90 percent of our market comes from a northerly direction. These are people returning to Denpasar who typically stopped at the market to buy small gifts and to stock up on produce. To visit Pasar Candikuning, travelers would have to detour back to the north. These travelers now chose instead to shop from roadside stands,” said Putra on Sunday, 19 February 2023.

The change in traffic patterns has devastated the incomes of the traders based at Pasar Candikuning. Incomes that once averaged Rp. 15-20 million have dipped dramatically to Rp. 1.5 million.

Putra is urging that the roadway passing Pasar Candikuning be open to two-way traffic to increase customers for local traders.

The Regional Industry and Trade official for Tabanan Regency estimates that 80% of the kiosks at Pasar Candikuning have now closed. These traders have sought roadside stands which are causing traffic issues and creating a cluttered and untidy look for the area. Adding: “The total number of traders at Candikuning is around 158-161 people; almost 80% are now closed. The downturn can be seen from official data and transactions recorded from electronic tax retribution, although many traders have yet to implement the electronic tax retribution program.”

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