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Zambian traders flock to Victoria Falls

by Staff reporter
18 Aug 2019 at 09:53hrs | Views
Zambians are taking advantage of Zimbabwe's collapsing economy to buy basic commodities from Victoria Falls for resale in the resort town of Livingstone.
Products that are popular with the Zambian traders include mealie-meal, milk and sugar.

The basic commodities are sold from makeshift stands known as tutemba.

One of the informal traders, Olicia Lubimbi said brands such as Red Seal mealie meal, Chimombe and Dendairy milk were very popular with Zambians.

Lubimbi, said her husband made at least three trips to Victoria Falls a day to buy the products.

"We have been here since 2016 and we have never made a loss," the mother of five said.

"Our clients, including high-profile officials from this town, visit my stand to buy and at times put orders.

"My husband obtains a daily border pass to cross into Zimbabwe, and on a good day he makes three trips for re-stocking purporses."

In Livingstone 10kg roller meal from Zimbabwe costs 38 kwacha, while that from Zimbabwe sells for double the price.

An informal trader operating from Livingstone's Dambwa Site and Service market said Dairibord's Chimombe milk, Zimbabwean-made margarine and mealie meal were popular with the Zambians.

"Zimbawean products are tastier and are of high quality," he said.

"I travel to Zimbabwe to sell second- hand travellers' bags and shoes and I buy basic commodities for resale here."

However, the traders bemoaned restrictions imposed on the movement of some basic commodities.

Zimbabwe does not allow Zambians to cross the border with large amounts of sugar.

The cross-border traders said they often circumvented the ban by bribing officials on both sides of the border. .

Bina Zimuto, a supermarket owner in Livingstone, however, said he does not understand why his compatriots were flooding Victoria Falls for basic commodities.

"We export maize meal to Zimbabwe, but traders are bringing back the same mealie-meal from that country," he said.

"We have enough dairy products like milk and fruits, but these are the same products that they are bringing from that country.

"This is bad for our food industry and the government must intervene to control it as it will lead to economy collapse."

Zimbabwe Revenue Authority spokesperson Francis Chimhanda said there was need for the two countries to introduce various measures to curb smuggling.

Source - the standard