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Joburg market signs Zambian deal
11 June 2009

Johannesburg Fresh Produce Market and Ilamfya from Zambia talk business

Fruit and vegetables from Zambia will find their way to Jozi tables after the Joburg Fresh Produce Market signed a trade deal with Ilamfya Agricultural Products Limited.

THE Johannesburg Fresh Produce Market (JFPM) has signed a business agreement of partnership with the Zambian agricultural company, Ilamfya Agricultural Products Limited.

"Zambians fed South African people when they were in exile, so it is time that we return the favour," said the JFPM's chief operating officer, Patrick Mphahlele.

Signing the agreement
Signing the agreement

The agreement signed by the two parties is to partner in the agricultural business, and entails the exchange of products such as onions, potatoes and mangoes. South Africa will export potatoes and onions to Zambia and in turn Zambia will send mangoes to South Africa during its mango off-season.

Opening the gathering for the signing, the JFPM's international relations officer, Wandile Masoek, said that signing the agreement was like committing oneself to marriage, which would last forever.

Mphahlele said that where commercially possible, the market linked with other countries on the continent. As the JFPM was one of the largest produce markets in the world, it wanted to work with other countries in Africa and boost its presence to African farmers.

Signing this agreement with Zambia would allow the Joburg market to penetrate into other African countries that shared borders with Zambia.

Revenue would also be diversified at the market through extending its client base, he pointed out. Deals had already been inked with Botswana and Democratic Republic of Congo; the JFPM hoped to set one up with Zimbabwe.

Africa was food secure, Mphahlele said, mentioning some of the other African countries with which the Joburg market was working. These included Nigeria, Ghana and Namibia.

Market tour
Representatives from Ilamfya were given a tour of the market's warehouses to see how it handled and processed products, prompting the chairperson, Bwalya Chiti, to say he was truly impressed with what he saw at JFPM.

Touring the market
Touring the market

Partnering with the JFPM would not only help them but would also provide services to regions around Zambia, such as Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, and others. "We are looking forward to the JFPM's working together with us," said Chiti.

He also commented on the cleanliness of the food markets, including the Soweto Market and a market in Lagos, in Nigeria. Markets needed to be clean for the quality and safety of food.

"We need to change the way people live; we have to supply facilities to better their conditions."

There were a number of reasons why his company wanted to set up a business relationship with the JFPM, Chiti said. Among these was that "we have realised the size and volume of the JFPM", and "we are looking for quality products from [it]".

The Johannesburg market would provide safe, good quality food for Zambians, as well as safe and fair trading and distribution of agricultural products for Zambian farmers.

The JFPM's chief executive officer, Kgosientso Ramokgopa, was also pleased with the deal. "The South African food sector is very strong because it has not been hurt much by the global crisis, and there are opportunities on the continent with regard to developing skills and improving agriculture trade," he said.

"The deal signed with Ilamfya fits into our strategy to ensure food security and affordability in the sub-Saharan region.

"We were attracted to Zambia because the country serves as a stable gateway to central Africa and have selected partners who understand the market very well," he explained.

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