Fresh produce farmers in Zambia are reeling from losses arising from a cholera outbreak that has hit the capital Lusaka. At least 50 people have died and more than 2 000 cases had been reported since the disease broke in October 2017.
Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) President Jervis Zimba said the farmers’ losses were running into thousands of kwacha. “Tons of tomatoes, vegetables and fruits have gone to waste,” Zimba said.
Soweto market has more than 1 000 fresh food stalls, but lacks proper drainage systems. It does not meet sanitation standards as set out in the Public Health Act. The market’s storage facilities are also lacking.
In a bid to control the outbreak, the Zambian government shut several markets and eateries. It further ordered a stop to all forms of street vending. In addition, the Zambian Army and other security wings had been enlisted to clean up and enforce the ban of trading in the markets.
The ZNFU said fresh produce farmers now need an alternative market space. “Such a market would be run by farmers, and traders who will buy from the farmers to go and resell in their designated places,” Zimba said.