Tshwane Market, South Africa's second largest

The Tshwane Fresh Produce Market in Pretoria is the second largest market in South Africa, with approximately half the turnover and tonnage of the Johannesburg Fresh Produce Market. Over 2015/16 Tshwane Market achieved a market share of 22.8%, while Johannesburg Market holds a market share of 47%.
 
Copyright: City of Tshwane
 
There are nineteen fresh produce markets in South Africa. The third largest would be either the Durban or Cape Town fresh produce markets. The Gauteng markets (Pretoria, Johannesburg, Springs and Vereeniging) deal in about 75% of the national fresh produce supply. This can in part be explained by buyers from neighbouring countries, all situated to the north of South Africa, with the exception of Lesotho and Swaziland, who procure fresh produce for their domestic markets at the Johannesburg and Pretoria markets. Buyers from across the border are contributing approximately R1.6 million [Euro 116 000] in turnover per month to the Tshwane market. 
 
Informal traders (street vendors) play an increasingly prominent role at the market, currently accounting for about 65% of turnover.
 
Turnover at the Tshwane Fresh Produce Market in Pretoria has grown by 18.52% from R2.6 billion [Euro 188 million] (2014/2015 financial year) to R3.088 billion [Euro 223 million] (2015/2016 financial year). The volume sold at the market during December 2016 was 57 475 metric tonnes, a contraction of 3.49% in Rand turnover from the previous December, even though there was a growth of 5.93% in volume as compared to Dec 2015. This reflects a lower Rand value per tonne in 2016.
 
Copyright: City of Tshwane
 
The impact of the drought was clearly seen at the market, both in volumes available and in the value of sales. Monthly onion sales at the market totalled R16.6 million [Euro 1.2 million] during December 2016, a decrease of 17% on December 2015's sales. Tomato sales and vegetable sales in general in December 2016 were also lower than the previous December, but potatoes bucked the trend: turnover was 11.5% higher than the previous year, with a higher price per metric tonne.
 
During December 2016 a total of R82 million [Euro 6 million] of fruit was sold at the market. Banana sales during December 2016 amounted to R22 457 915 [Euro 1.6 million]. Annual banana sales are approximately R260 million [Euro 18.9 million].
 
The market, which belongs to the City of Tshwane (Pretoria), is actively involved with its customers. To date 648 informal traders have received training in postharvest technology and product knowledge, food safety, small business and financial management to assist them in moving from the informal sector to formal businesses. 
 
Copyright: City of Tshwane
 
The market takes a 5% commission on every transaction conducted on its market floors, but market agents feel that they are not receiving adequate support in exchange. They refer specifically to the large and important task of cleaning the floors of the market halls which, due to budget cuts, broken equipment and bureaucracy, is not done with sufficient frequency, they claim. Another issue mentioned by market agents is the accumulation of heaps of discarded vegetables outside the market halls.
 
Market management has invested R12 million [Euro 873 000] in infrastructure and market trading system upgrades over the past few years.
 
The future of the fresh produce market system in South Africa is considered uncertain in some quarters, with one market agent telling FreshPlaza that he gives the Tshwane market only five more years of existence. 
 
Farm-to-gate sales – direct marketing to supermarket chains – have increased, with mixed results: the farmer is forced to accept fixed prices but is assured of being able to sell the entire crop. If the open market system were to disappear, those worst affected would be the economically disadvantaged, both sellers and consumers. Through the current system, they are able to procure fresh produce of good quality at prices considerably lower than those of the formal retail sector.
 
Earlier this week news broke that the City of Johannesburg was investigating allegations of fraud and corruption at the Johannesburg Fresh Produce Market (read more here: http://www.freshplaza.com).
 
For more information:
Tinus Dodds
Tshwane Fresh Produce Market
Tel: +27 12 358 2369

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