I REFER to the article, "Food market scandal", in the September 30 issue.
There is no denying that the Port Elizabeth Fresh Produce Market is under tremendous pressure to get its affairs in order. Our industry recognises the importance of a national fresh produce market in a region, especially given the very important role played by markets in ensuring the food security needs of the region and the nation.
For the last two years the Institute of Market Agents of South Africa (Imasa) has been hard at work rallying support to uplift fresh produce markets nationally. Deon van Zyl, Imasa's previous president, spearheaded a bold initiative called Project Rebirth which is all about the upliftment of fresh produce markets and the alignment to industry trends.
Project Rebirth has gained serious traction over the last few months with major industry stakeholders, including the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, throwing their weight behind the project.
Growers across the country are concerned about the state of many of our fresh produce markets, especially when taking into account their importance in rendering a service to growers and consumers. It is not only the service rendered, but also the alignment to major industry trends such as GlobalGAP which are necessary to remain competitive.
The annual Imasa panel discussion, which was hosted in Cape Town this year and featured prominent stakeholders including Potatoes South Africa, grower representatives, market authority representatives, market agents and the department, highlighted once again the importance of fresh produce markets and especially the importance of market agents working together to secure the food security needs of the country.
With Project Rebirth we have direction with clearly defined objectives. National government with its municipal counterparts needs to take this seriously or the future of markets and food security will be in jeopardy.
Grant Norman, president, Imasa