French company roped into local fresh produce market plan
Mpumalanga has undertaken a feasibility study to establish a fresh produce market that will open up export opportunities for the province’s farmers.
Provincial cabinet spokesperson Lebona Mosia said the department of agriculture, rural development and land administration (DARDLA) has hired a French company, Rungis Fresh Produce Market, to do the feasibility study.
“This company is running one of the biggest fresh produce markets in Paris supplying 18 million consumers. It is also currently establishing similar markets in Russia, China, Peru, India, Portugal, London and Belgium,” Mosia said.
“They have worldwide experience,” he added.
Mpumalanga is a producer of sub-tropical and deciduous fruits, and fresh meat. The market will process the produce for both local and international markets.
DARDLA MEC Candith Mashego-Dlamini has indicated during the departments’ budget speech this week that the market would be an anchor in the crop and livestock production of the province.
Mashego-Dlamini said the department would ensure that small-holder farmers were also included to benefit from the market.
She said many Mpumalanga subsistence and small-scale farmers already had assets in the form of livestock such as goats, pigs, cattle and sheep but less than 10% of their products went through the formal marketing channels.
Mashego-Dlamini also said that the department was reviving 292 land reform projects in the province and hoped that once they started producing again, they would benefit from the fresh produce market.
The province would tap into the relationships that have been established with Oman in the Middle East, BRICS and the neighbouring countries such as Swaziland and Mozambique to access the export markets, she said.
“All these initiatives will ensure that the sector creates more jobs in line with the Mpumalanga Provincial Growth Path and ensuring that we meet the international markets’ standards for our farmers to increase their export market,” Mashego-Dlamini said.