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Sunday, July 14, 2024
HomeNewsPesticide sellers invade Harare

Pesticide sellers invade Harare

By Farai Dauramanzi

Walking in Harare’s CBD one might be tempted to conclude that the City is experiencing an outbreak of rodents such as rats, flies, mosquitoes and fleas due to the high number of pesticide sellers who will be doing business at street corners.

It is now common to find pesticide vendors who move in groups with a loudspeaker or to find a “lonely ranger” who operates from the island in city streets including First Street in Harare. 263Chat set out to find out what was attracting many into this trade and it was noticed that many are being attracted into the trade by its financial rewards.

One pesticide vendor identified as Tinashe Lawrence who trades at the island opposite Town House said that the trade was one of the few remaining lucrative jobs in the country. He explained that pesticide sellers were paid daily on a commission system.

“There are two types of contracts. One is like mine where a vendor gets 35% of sales plus $1.50 lunch allowance per day while the second one is of a 50% commission without lunch allowance. We used to sell an average of $60 per person when we started but nowadays the market is now flooded and I can sell an average of $15 to $18 of which my share will be $6,” explained Lawrence.

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This leaves the vendors with a monthly income of $156 if one works for six days per week. A recently published survey by Finscope Consumer Zimbabwe shows that 65% of the adult population in the country earns $100 or less per month. When queried on how the pesticide dealers were managing to pay such a high commission when most companies were struggling to pay workers, Lawrence explained the process that gets the pesticides on the street.

“It’s just that I do not have capital but it is easy to start this business of selling pesticides. The pesticide concentrate is sold in downtown wholesales and a package that costs $50 can give you 500 sachets after mixing. Each sachet has a street value of $1,” said Lawrence.

“My employer also employs three people who do all the packaging and are paid an average of $10 per day. Some of the bigger pesticide companies are now employing up to 70 people while the smaller ones employs about 30 vendors,” narrated Lawrence.

Lawrence explained that the concentrate for the pesticide for flies is mixed with sugar while that of rat poison is mixed with roasted maize-meal. The trade has attracted many unemployed women as well as men and a lot more continue to enter into the trade on a daily basis.

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“For one to become a vendor he/she has to come with a known trader for reference sake as well as your I.D. The business is very lucrative as some companies that started here in Harare have since spread their business to other towns such as Bulawayo, Masvingo, Bindura, Marondera and so on,” added Lawrence.

The country has been faced with a liquidity crunch which has resulted in the country having a high unemployment rate that has been put at 90% by some analysts. Many of the working adults in Zimbabwe educated or not, have been left scrapping out a living on the streets through the informal sector.

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263Chat is a Zimbabwean media organisation focused on encouraging & participating in progressive national dialogue

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