The absence of management over the past decade has led the Tshwane fresh produce market to the brink of collapse.
The market is the second largest in South Africa with an annual turnover of approximately R3 billion (156 million euros). The market earns around R150 million (7,8 million euros) per year for the Tshwane Municipality in ad valorem commission, but in return the market only receives around R3 million (156,000 euros) annually for maintenance. that represents 0,1% of the market's turnover and 2% of the municipality's income generated by the market.
Banana ripening facilities and refrigeration equipment have not been maintained for a decade or more. "Maintenance that would have cost a couple of hundred thousand Rands a year, will now lead to repairs costing millions," says Julian van der Nat, chairperson of the Institute for Market Agents of South Africa (IMASA).
In an attempt to reverse the situation, the institute's Tshwane branch last week (27 January) met with the Tshwane municipality, Potatoes South Africa, representatives of independent market agencies and the agricultural produce marketing council.
Agricultural business chamber Agbiz mediated the meeting since requests for meetings from IMASA were fruitless.
"We want to convey the message that the market is on the brink of collapse. We want to assist the authorities to return the market to being a proud asset of the city. The fact that we were able to listen to each other and elucidate problems at all levels, is already a step closer to a solution. A solution is not going to be easy. We've set up a committee to manage the process."
The committee will meet again on 10 February to discuss a plan of action.
Tshifiwa Madima, head of fresh produce division at the Tshwane municipality, could not be reached for comment.
Original source: Landbouweekblad