Fresh produce sector – looking forward

We’re into 2015. Time to haul out my crystal ball, give it a good shine and peer deep inside to see what lies in store for the year ahead.

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Believe it or not, I have managed to build an enviable record with my supremely accurate predictions on fresh produce market prices. Some readers might recall how I have repeatedly predicted that fruit and veg prices on the markets will go up and down. Please note the use of the word ‘will’ – it indicates a level of confidence you don’t find in most predictions.

When looking ahead, economists, for example, tend to use phrases such as ‘indications are’ or ‘given the current rate of inflation’.
Not so your columnist. I like to be spot on and make my predictions without fear or favour.

Those prices
So, for 2015, I predict that fruit and veg prices will go up and they will come down. With this invaluable information – exclusive to Farmer’s Weekly readers – farmers can confidently plan their production and marketing strategies for the year ahead. I can say with equal certainty that a good number of our political leaders will put their proverbial feet into their mouths. I sometimes wonder if this characteristic, so prevalent among those in high office, is not a prerequisite for entry into the political arena.

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A further surefire prediction is that, with a few exceptions aside, municipalities won’t change their approach to their fresh produce markets. They will continue to milk them for every cent and try their utmost not to invest a cent in improvements. Our well-intentioned department of agriculture will have its hands full trying to fix the markets.

Behind closed doors
I predict that those political appointees allegedly running markets – aka ‘market managers’ – will continue to do nothing, attend endless meetings and remain behind their closed office doors. A word of advice. Should you by some quirk of fate run into one of these market managers, be sure not to ask in a cheery voice that question they all dread, “How’s the market today?”

You will only embarrass them, because the chances are they don’t know where the market is.