The Codes of Best Practice (CoBP) for National Fresh Produce Markets

The ‘Codes of Best Practice (CoBP) for National Fresh Produce Markets’ prepared by the Project Rebirth Steering Committee (chaired by the department of agriculture) will bring our fresh produce markets in line with international standards.

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It lists the following key areas: regulatory environment; communication; consignment control; safety and security; hygiene; food safety standards; infrastructure; information management; financial management; transformation; and human capital development.
We should in no way underestimate the document’s significance. That it ever saw the light of day is an achievement in itself.
But now comes the difficult bit: – implementation!

Let’s make it happen
Depending on the item being addressed, the document has a column entitled ‘Responsibility and accountability’ which lists the role players expected to implement that particular requirement. The secret to success will be to get them all around a table to thrash out that particular item. Another column provides a time-frame and that should help.

I am satisfied that a number of the organisations active in the fresh produce markets sector will get on with the job and start doing something. There are others, I fear, that will continue in their slow, cumbersome, inept way, making implementation difficult. That said, it’s encouraging to see challenges being addressed after all this time. Five years ago, I would have said that all was in vain, but since Project Rebirth blew new life into the markets sector things have improved dramatically.

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There is hope!

Guiding light
A word of caution: this document is not for casual reading. It is a practical, working document that should be on every participant’s desk for quick reference. It will no doubt be upgraded and revised from time to time but it will remain the fresh produce sector’s guiding light. Role players, especially market managers, market agents and producers, need to roll up their sleeves and make this ambitious document a reality.

It has been overdue for more years than anybody can remember and must not be left to gather dust like so many other well-intentioned initiatives of the past.