Booming agricultural markets and the politics of control in Zimbabwe

zimbabweland

One consequence of land reform has been the growth of informal produce markets. This has occurred in every town. Vegetables, grains, oil seeds, fruits and more are piled high, sourced from diverse locations in the rural hinterlands. Although divided across multiple traders and involving a complex array of actors in the value chain, this is big money.

eMakombo, an agricultural information service, monitors the value of cash exchanges in Mbare market in Harare, the largest in the country. Across a huge range of agricultural products, they calculate that these market exchanges amounted to US$30m in 2014, with tomatoes accounting for an astonishing US$12m. A recent eMkambo Vibes briefing observes:

The true performance of agro-based economies like Zimbabwe can be seen through people’s markets (the so-called informal agriculture market) where the volume, variety and velocity of commodities and hard cash are more than formal markets.

Speaking of Mbare, the briefing…

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