Is the Kei Market coming right?

I last visited the Kei Fresh Produce Market (KFPM) in January and vowed not to return until they had cleaned up the place and it could sell fresh fruit and vegetables with proper hygiene and food safety.

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I’ve been closely associated with this market almost from its inception and it has always been something of a lost child. Ample good advice and wisdom from well-meaning people seemed to fall on deaf ears. Politics and people who don’t know fresh produce markets (sound familiar?) chose to do their own thing and soon the KFPM was sinking fast. At this point let me be fair and say that I believe there might be a faint light at the end of the tunnel. A few days ago I received an invitation to an open day in support of their, and I quote, “2010 Know Your Market Campaign” on 1 October.

The objectives for the open day were:

  • To generate future revenue.
  • To increase awareness of KFPM.
  • To implement optimum utilisation of the KFPM’s trading floor.
  • To provide and market the distribution network for farmers’ produce and logistics support for hawkers.

These are noble objectives and I wish them every success. I’m assuming management knows that to achieve them, certain things need to be in place. It’s time to “go back to basics” as sports coaches always remind us after a loss. Apart from basic cleanliness and hygiene, they need to ensure that the market agents on the floor operate within the boundaries of the law.

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Farmers must be confident their interests are being protected in deals with these agents, and by extension the market.South Africa’s diversity means we grow a wide range of fruit and vegetables all over the country. Apparently 3% of the market’s fresh produce comes from local farmers, with the rest imported from other provinces, pretty much in line with other markets.
But the local product base could be increased substantially if entrenched habits are improved production and marketing, and a user-friendly market is on hand to sell the goods.I hope I can make it to their open day.