City of Harare is working to improve hygiene standards at its flagship Mbare Farmers market by putting concrete surfaces following complaints by traders who felt the place had become a health hazard especially during rainy seasons.
Speaking during a meeting organised by African Women Initiative for Developing Economies (AWIDE) recently, the Mbare District Officer, Million Sambona said had requested for a 20% revenue retention to fund the planned refurbishments.
The meeting was attended by representatives of farmers, retail traders and council officials.
Proportional Representation Member of Parliament for Harare Joyce Jaja who was part of the meeting called on the city fathers to use the resources at their disposal to provide quality service.
"Do your best, we know people are not paying much, but with the little you have, deliver," she said.
Tichanzwana Chibika, Chairperson of the Mbare Fruit and Wholesalers Association complained that the market place was a health hazard during the rain hence their call for action from City of Harare.
"The farmer's market gets clogged with mud during the rainy season, posing a health hazard to traders and customers.
"There is threat of outbreak of water borne diseases because of the unhygienic conditions. The concrete surface will make it easier to keep the market clean and prevent muddy conditions that inconvenience customers," said Chibika.
The poor state of Mbare Market was also confirmed by a City of Harare Special Committee on Management of Council Markets Report which noted that infrastructure at the markets is "obsolete" with no intention to improve water, sanitation and hygiene.
The report further noted that the majority of City Council markets have no functional toilets and running water exposing traders to water borne diseases.
Apart from absence of standard ablution systems, Mbare markets have inadequate sheds and roofing.
Chibika says the sheds, which were donated by the European Union protect traders leaving customers exposed to the sun and rain.
Failure by Council to provide essential services violates Section 14 of the Public Health Act which binds every local authority to take precautions to prevent outbreaks of communicable diseases.