Surely the head honcho will reason, “Let’s invest in infrastructure improvement and general upliftment of our service, as these generate money, not fancy reception areas or managers’ offices.” However, with few exceptions, this kind of thinking is absent in our municipal markets. I’m sure a producer is suitably impressed when they walk into a beautiful reception area and are ushered into a plush office for discussions with a senior manager.
But what happens afterwards, when the producer decides to take a walk around the market itself? They’re likely to find dirty floors, broken cold-rooms, garbage – and please don’t even think of using the toilets! This same producer, remember, is required to apply a host of food safety protocols when growing their crops. They could have huge amounts of money invested in cold-stores and other facilities on their farm.
They have to compete with many others when offering their crops for sale – and see where their produce ends up? On a market where filth and dereliction reign supreme. Not all markets are like this. Some have managed to get the balance between ‘nice-to-have’ and ‘must-have’ right, and it’s always a pleasure to visit them. But a good number have done nothing whatsoever!
This is the price you pay when municipalities are tasked with running a business. When politics takes precedence over all else and politicians waste millions on nice-to-haves instead of putting the money where it should be, then failure for a market is on the cards. Cleanliness, buildings, lighting, cold-stores, ripening chambers, floors, roofs, the surrounding open spaces currently overgrown with grass and bushes, access control, computer systems and signage – these need to be attended to. Oh, and don’t forget the market manager’s office once you’ve finished with all those chores.
That’s what we mean by ‘fixing the basics’.
Contact Mike Cordes at [email protected]. Please state ‘Market floor’ in the subject line of your email.