The Sunday Mail
If a first-time visitor to Harare has not passed through Siyaso in Magaba or the ever-busy Mbare Musika in Harare, that person is deemed to have not visited the ‘real’ Harare.
Both the Mbare vegetable wholesale market and Siyaso are iconic structures that have not only stood the test of time but have, for many years, contributed immensely to the development of the country’s agricultural sector.
One interesting feature about these two places is that they enjoy a rare symbiotic relationship.
Whilst the traders at Siyaso largely depend on the farmers who are their major customers, the farmers also get the majority of the things they use in their line of work from Siyaso. Since one can buy almost anything at Siyaso, farmers who sell their produce at the wholesale market prefer to buy ropes, hoes, scotch carts and building materials, among other things, from this perennially busy home industrial site.
Mr Job Nhekairo, a farmer who travelled all the way from Chipinge to sell avocados at the wholesale market summed up the mutually beneficial relationship that the traders enjoy with the farmers: “As farmers and traders, we need each other. After selling my produce, I will go to Siyaso where I will then buy farming implements such as hoes and scotch carts. I will then use the implements to produce the crops that I will deliver to Mbare and then I will come back again to Siyaso. It becomes a cycle that I have to complete every farming season,” Mr Nhekairo said.
Mr Apurituri Sandi, the chairman of the Mbare wholesale market, said the majority of the farmers that sell their produce at the market end up buying implements and household items from Siyaso.
“We have a special relationship with the traders at Siyaso. They produce the gadgets that makes it possible for farmers to produce. At the same, the traders also heavily depend on the money that the farmers get from this market,” Sandi said.
He added: “It is impossible for anyone to quantify the amount of cash that circulates here and at Siyaso. What I can only tell you is that thousands, if not millions of people, are earning a living through this mutually beneficial relationship.”
According to Sandi both the fresh produce market and Siyaso traders are contributing to tourism and employment creation.
“We have people earning a living out of pushing pushcarts that the farmers use to transport their produce from the market to the bus terminus and also from Siyaso. Tourists also flock both places, bringing in the much-needed forex,” he added.
Harare City Ward 4 councillor, Mr Martin Matinyanya, in whose ward is the Siyaso and a part of Mbare Musika are located, also spoke about the mutual beneficial relationship that the two markets enjoy.
“Farmers largely depend on Siyaso for their hardware. The manufacturers and traders at Siyaso sell the majority of their wares to farmers that frequent the wholesale market. Both the farmers and the traders cannot do without each other,” Matinyanya said. According to Matinyanya, 5 000 individuals have stalls at Siyaso.