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Potatoes SA chairs roundtable on the state of fresh produce markets

Last week, Potatoes South Africa hosted an industry roundtable, in which several leaders from the agriculture and food industry met to discuss the most pressing issues currently plaguing national fresh produce markets (NFPMs).

There are currently 23 NFPMs around the country, the majority of which are municipally owned and managed. Responsible for up to 80% of all fresh produce sales in the country, these markets not only serve vital price-forming and setting roles, but are also key to ensuring the supply of food to vulnerable communities via informal traders, creating inclusive sales mechanisms for small-scale farmers to access markets, and generating important revenue for municipalities.

The latest statistics from the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development show that fresh produce markets sold some 3.4 million tons of fresh fruit and vegetables with a turnover of R17bn in 2019.

But although municipalities charge fees of 5% on all turnover for the operation of the markets, little has been reinvested back into market maintenance over the past few years. In particular, farmers, agricultural associations, and market agents have warned of a lack of security, poor infrastructure maintenance and hygiene standards, and raised concerns regarding the efficacy of market management.

So, given the importance of fresh produce markets to food supply chains and the economy, markets should be recognized as national key points and given urgent prioritization to address poor maintenance and security before these sites deteriorate.

Source: bizcommunity.com


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