Zambian small traders and producers have had challenges accessing markets and trade outlets mainly due to small quantities of produce, inconstant supply and poor quality products. This is not uncommon across the African continent and other developing countries. Zambia tried to ban imports of locally produced vegetables as a way to support the local producers and traders to access the national market. However, due to inability to meet the quantity, consistency and quality demanded by the market, the government had to lift the ban (https://diggers.news/business/2017/03/16/fruits-vegetable-importation-ban-excites-farmers/). The packaging of products and marketing outlets are not appealing even among local buyers and consumers (See video on Malamba market in Livingstone). The community Trade Clusters was designed to meet these trade demands to include local producers and traders in the national and international market.
The Community Trade Clusters are designed to group producers and commodity aggregators in groups of common interest. This immediately helps to solve three main bottlenecks to trade inclusiveness namely: quantity supplied, Consistency of supply and Quality of commodity supplied by communities. It is easy to help small traders to aggregate their products for increased quantity of supply when they are in clusters or groups.
Secondly, most of the small traders and producers deal in small quantities. When they supply once, the products run out when buyers still need some more. Clusters will help to organise production and /or supply in in a staggered manner that meets the need for consistence among buyers.
Lastly, buyers demand quality that is not usually reached by small traders who may be difficult to reach and compel to actualise the quality needed. In clusters small traders and producers may be trained to meet quality requirements as well as train them in packaging and labelling for the market. This is easily done in clusters than for individuals.
There are other advantages of trade clusters such as increased power to negotiate for favourable trade conditions, easier to lobby and advocate for inclusive trade policies and easier to engage any other stakeholders in trade related sectors.
The Community Trade Clusters use the KAYZ Market Access Model which includes access to manufacturing industry and support groups such as financiers, donors and business development service providers apart from grouping the producers and/or aggregators into supply clusters.