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Zambia street vending ban problematic for farmers

The Zambian government has banned the selling of produce on the streets due to a cholera outbreak. This is despite the fact that the capital, Lusaka, was home to perhaps more than 10,000 street vendors. Now, farmers say they struggle to sell their crops.

Zambian farmer Mumba: “Business has been slow. We are all counting our losses.” Most of Mumba’s customers were street vendors, he says, who then sold the produce at their informal stands. But since street vending was banned, farmers who sell their produce here struggle to find buyers.

The official ban began in January, when street vending was cited by the government as an unhygienic practice that might have contributed to a cholera outbreak. There were more than 5,900 cholera cases between October 2017 and this May, including 114 deaths.

Now, anyone found trading on the street or in an undesignated place could face a fine. It’s still legal to sell in formal markets, but those places have limited space and charge fees. Informal street vending is a time-honored solution for many vendors, who can still earn a living without joining a formal market.

According to an article on, Masiye Zulu, a street vendor who was convicted of selling vegetables illegally, says she still sells produce, but only late in the evenings, after the police have turned in.

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