Mozambican mayors in historic Joburg Market visit
Three Mozambican mayors visited the Johannesburg Fresh Produce Market – an entity of the City of Johannesburg and the biggest of its kind in Africa – on a fact-finding mission on Friday November 4 ahead of their mooted move to establish a similar facility in their country.
Cllr Ernesto Daniel Chambise, Mayor of Xai Xai; Cllr Lidia Frederico Cossa Camela, Mayor of Chokwe and Cllr Reginaldo Paulimo Mariquele, Mayor of Macia, were taken on a tour of some parts of South Africa’s premier food security hub, experiencing first-hand how the market operated.
The planned Mozambican market is expected to be built in Xai Xai in the Gaza province, an agricultural area where more than 800 South African farmers are operating. All the three cities are situated in that province.
Johannesburg Market executives shared some of the facility’s highlights and challenges with the high-profile visitors. The market was established in Newtown in 1893 following the discovery of gold on the Reef. It relocated to City Deep a number of years later. The market serves more than 5 000 farmers and is visited by 11 000 customers daily.
In the 2015-2016 financial year, it achieved a turnover of R6.7-billion.
The historic visit by the Mozambican mayors was organised by the City’s Department of Economic Development in partnership with Afrigrow, a non-profit organisation that supports farmers in South Africa. It will be followed by further discussions and engagements.
“The mayors wanted to gain knowledge of how the market works as they are interested in opening a similar facility in Mozambique,” said the department’s Sean Ditat. He said the Johannesburg Market was “the best place to come for such information”.
Mayor Chambise described the visit as “insightful”. “We’re looking to start a fresh produce market and the Joburg Market was a good starting point. It has been highly educational and accommodating. This has helped us to maximise our understanding of how a world-class African market works.”
Tshifiwa Madima, Johannesburg Market’s Agribusiness Executive Manager, said the market was looking forward to building healthy relations with Mozambique.
“We’re truly excited about what the future holds for the Joburg Market. There are plans to expand the facility, make it modern and turn it into a one-stop shop for consumers,” Madima said.
Matome Kgowedi, a representative of the South African High Commission to Mozambican, said the visit was in line with the government of Mozambique’s approach to agriculture. “This is really about maximising opportunities. This will assist them in setting up a market of this nature in Mozambique,” Kgowedi said.