Feedback from Project Rebirth Meeting
By Richard Hurndall
Revitalisation of Buffalo City (East London) Fresh Produce Market
The Buffalo Market is being used as a case study to highlight one of the successes of the Project Rebirth process. The market is committed to implementing the codes of best practice; it has the support of the municipality; it has a master plan for infrastructure upgrades and has a focus on hygiene, cleanliness, and food safety standards. It also featured in a favourable article in Farmer’s Weekly.
Infrastructure upgrades include:
- 4 new cold rooms
- Pallet zone
- Cashier cubicles
- CCTV cameras
- Epoxy resin flooring
- Master plan with the view to establish a food distribution centre
- Market hall ventilation
- Energy efficient compressors for existing cold rooms
Actions to Address Non-Performing Markets
Despite the efforts of Project Rebirth, there is still too much non-compliance with respect to infrastructure maintenance, safety, and security, consignment control, as well as food safety, hygiene and cleanliness. These markets include Kimberly, Bloemfontein, Vereniging, Klerksdorp, and Welkom. Potatoes South Africa (PSA) has embarked on a fact-finding / negotiating mission to assist these markets. This will now include the establishment of regional committees, consisting of market authorities, agents, buyers, and producers, as well as additional parties such as municipalities, APAC as required, to develop a master plan for the recovery of these markets.
Four of these markets have responded positively while being hamstrung by a variety of issues including lack of suitable personnel, lack of funding and indifference of municipalities. A last ditch effort will be made to the Welkom municipality to rescue their market.
Proposal for a National Qualification on Fresh Produce Marketing
Various academic institutions were contacted to obtain information on the likelihood that they might be willing and able to facilitate a national qualification on fresh produce marketing. It is likely that various modules would be allocated to institutions where core competencies existed. The following skills & competencies should receive attention:
- Legislation applicable to the agricultural environment to include the Agricultural Produce Agents Act, 1992 (Act 12 of 1992), Occupational Health & Safety Act, 1993 (Act 85 of 1993), Labour Relations Act, 1995 (Act 66 of 1995), Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act, 1972 (Act 54 of 1972) and the Competition Act, Act 89 of 1998;
- Market By-laws, policies, SOP’s and basic rules and regulations;
- Codes of Best Practise (CoBP);
- Managerial skills to include best practices for the sales floor, etiquette and ethics (this aspect is very important);
- Product specific information (in the case of sales personnel);
- Quality with the emphasis on the value chain, cold chain, shelf life and post-harvest management.
Codes of Best Practice (CoBP)
Codes of Best Practice for National Fresh Produce Markets pertains to market managers, market agents, producers, labour, and service providers. The pillars of these codes include:
- Regulatory environment
- Communication / stakeholder engagement
- Consignment control
- Safety and security
- Hygiene, cleanliness, and food safety standards
- Infrastructure maintenance, capital, and operational expenditure
- Information management
- Risk and financial management
- Human capital development
The CoBP’s are awaiting Ministerial signature for gazetting.