After working hard for 3-4 months growing your tomatoes, you think how are you going to sell them? You do your market survey and find tomatoes selling for K100 in Lusaka, K120 at Masala in Ndola and K130 at Chisokone in Kitwe.

You look at transport costs and decide Soweto is closer, so you drive with your canter full of boxes to Soweto and get a really scary welcome. As soon as your truck is slowing down a mob is chasing the truck.
Some very tough and uncompromising men come to the front. They demand immediately that for you to sell from the truck you have to hand over K650.

Then the real nightmare begins you are blocked from selling an agent insists only he can sell not you and he expects K35 per box. So your expected K100 is really K65 !!!!

Then the party thug also appears. No one at the market sells without his say so. He wants K100 per day as long as your truck is there.

You drive back to the farm as far as you can make out your profit was K 12 per box. You phone a friend who sells in Kitwe and Ndola and he tells you the same thing happens there as well.

How did we get to this situation where a thug with no official accreditation except his savagery can hijack the produce of a farmer or trader and dictate price and also EARN MORE THAN YOU THE OWNER OF THE CROP ?

As for the party thug how come he is charging for slots for anyone to sell from? How does he come into this? And the K650 one-off charge by the Market Committee or whatever who are they?

I think if you are a farmer find other outlets for your produce or better still open your own market or go to the Tuesday Market otherwise selling at Soweto, Masala or CHisokone is a losing proposition for farmers !!!

RT: Brian Mulenga

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